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The Mississippi State Board of Education announced Thursday that it is continuing to work through the public comments on proposed revisions to the state’s social studies standards. 

In December, the board began the process to revise Mississippi’s K-12 social studies standards and received passionate feedback on social media. 

The proposed changes removed many specific names, events, and details in state history in lieu of more broad descriptions, and people worried the state Department of Education was removing civil rights history from the standards. 

The board subsequently held a public comment hearing on Jan. 28 where officials announced that some of the proposed changes had been rolled back. The department would no longer be removing the lists from the standards based on the feedback it had already received. 

The department periodically updates the standards following feedback from teachers, with the last revision occurring in 2018. MDE officials said teachers felt some standards needed more clarity while others had excessive examples, leading to the 2021 revisions. 

At the board meeting Thursday, a report was provided summarizing the public comment hearing, which the hearing officer described as emotional and representing diverse viewpoints.

MDE said it has begun sorting the feedback into major categories, and will bring in a group of social studies teachers to help them incorporate feedback that strengthens the standards. If the changes are considered substantive, they will again be open for public comment.


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Julia James is Mississippi Today's poverty and breaking news reporter. A native of Mandeville, Louisiana, James recently completed an investigative reporting internship with Mississippi Today. In that role, she closely covered the sprawling welfare scandal and public education. She will continue that work, as well as working closely with Mississippi Today’s breaking news team. James is a 2021 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she studied journalism and public policy and was in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. She has been published in The New York Times, Mississippi Today, and Clarion Ledger.