New standards for language arts will be implemented in Arkansas for kindergarten through 12th grades beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.
The new standards were approved this month by the Arkansas Board of Education as a revision of the Common Core State Standards. The revisions are the result of input by over 100 teachers, college faculty, school administrators, and Arkansas department of Education staff members.
“We have created a product that is much more positive and has buy-in from Arkansas educators,” state Education Commissioner Johnny Key said. He also added that it was important to have teachers actively participating in the revisions. In addition, the revisions were streamed online, so that they could be observed by the public and reactions could be solicited.
“A year ago, I would have thought this would bring in a roomful of people to have their say whether they were for or against it,” Key said. “We don’t have that. I don’t think that means it is less important. I think it means we did a good job of getting everyone’s input along the way.”
Some of the changes include instruction in phonics and the teaching of cursive handwriting.