The State Board of Education has approved new learning standards for Missouri’s K-12 students. The changes are for math, English, social studies and science.

Assistant Commissioner Blaine Henningsen

Assistant Commissioner Blaine Henningsen. Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Ed

Missouri currently follows standards based on federal guidelines known as common core, but the Legislature passed a requirement in 2014 to develop new standards. The changes will begin next school year.

Department of Education Assistant Commissioner Blaine Henningsen calls these minimum standards.

“They don’t differentiate between urban and suburban and rural or anything like that. They don’t differentiate between whether a student has a disability in one area or does not have a disability. They are learning expectations created for all students in Missouri,” said Henningsen.

Ann Jarrett with the Missouri National Education Association is pleased with the changes.

“This ends this period of uncertainty. For two years, teachers have been uncertain about what would the new learning standards would look like. Now we have something we can move forward with,” said Jarrett. “Many of the changes in all of the areas actually deal more with trying to help students understand on a conceptual level rather than just memorizing things,” said Jarrett. “That requires a different way of teaching. It requires some resources for manipulative materials.”

During a public hearing in October about proposed changes by several work groups, opponents said the proposed standards were disjointed and too closely mirrored Common Core guidelines.

The Department of Education received more than 3,600 comments during a public feedback period on proposed standards. The Department says that feedback was considered in the approved changes.

Local districts will determine curriculum to meet the new standards. The Department will work with educators during the transition and will develop new assessments to measure student progress. New assessments for English language arts and math will be administered in spring 2018.