After Arduous Process, Mo. Board Approves 75 Academic Standards

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

After months of revisions and rewriting, the Missouri state school board has adopted 75 new academic standards despite criticism that they give too much power to the state and are still too vague.

The board voted 8-0 this month to adopt the so-called "Show Me" standards--a list of what students should know and be able to do upon graduation.

Missouri's process of adopting school standards has been among the nation's most arduous, marked by repeated attempts to make them easy for parents and educators to understand. Gov. Mel Carnahan echoed the call of a group of lawmakers, business executives, and civic leaders last spring when he sent the standards' writers back to the drawing board in search of less "educatorese."

But reaction to the final version has remained decidedly mixed.

"I've been practicing law for 20 years, and I know meaningless gobbledygook when I see it," said Robert Wise, a Kansas City lawyer. "I think in five, 10, or 20 years we could be teaching anything at all, and it would come under these guidelines." Others were more satisfied as they spoke at a public hearing earlier this month.

David Stanley, the chief executive officer of Payless Cashways, a retail chain, and a chairman of an education committee of the Kansas City Civic Council, said he supported the standards. He said many job applicants lack critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

New Curriculum Next

The standards spell out in great detail what is expected of public school students by high school graduation. They include four broad goals as well as standards for six specific subject areas: communications arts, mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, and health and physical education.

The goals stipulate that, by high school graduation, all of Missouri's public school students will:

  • Acquire the knowledge and skills to gather, analyze, and apply information and ideas;
  • Be prepared to communicate effectively within and beyond the classroom;
  • Be able to recognize and solve problems; and
  • Be able to make decisions and act as responsible members of society.

Under the umbrella of the broad goals, specific skills and objectives are spelled out in a manner intended to dodge jargon.

Under the fourth goal, for example, the document states that students should be able to "understand and apply the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in Missouri and the United States."

But the document also calls for students to be able to "identify tasks that require a coordinated effort and work with others to complete those tasks."

The standards-writing exercise was mandated by a 1993 law that reformed the state's school-finance system.

Later this year, the state board is expected to adopt a new curriculum based on the standards. Local schools will not be required to adopt the curriculum and may even draft their own in accordance with the new standards.

Vol. 15, Issue 19

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >