Kentucky Legislature Sends a Common Core Review Bill to Governor

Photo credit: Matt Turner (CC-By-2.0)

An update on SB 1, after it passed in the Kentucky Senate 35-0 back in February it was amended in the Kentucky House and then passed 94-0 on March 15th. Since it was amended the Senate had to take it up again and they passed it on Wednesday 37-0.

The bill was then delivered to Governor Matt Bevin for his signature.

What does it do?

Here is how the Associated Press described it:

Kentucky lawmakers have wrapped up work on an education bill that would gradually repeal Common Core standards and give school districts more control in how to turn around low-performing schools.

Here’s what the bill calls for:

Beginning in fiscal year 2017-2018, and every six (6) years thereafter, the Kentucky Department of Education shall implement a process for reviewing Kentucky’s academic standards and the alignment of corresponding assessments for possible revision or replacement to ensure alignment with postsecondary readiness standards necessary for global competitiveness and with state career and technical education standards.

They get into some specifics:

The revisions to the content standards shall:

  1. Focus on critical knowledge, skills, and capacities needed for success in the global economy;
  2. Result in fewer but more in-depth standards to facilitate mastery learning;
  3. Communicate expectations more clearly and concisely to teachers, parents, students, and citizens;
  4. Be based on evidence-based research;
  5. Consider international benchmarks; and
  6. Ensure that the standards are aligned from elementary to high school to postsecondary education so that students can be successful at each education level.

I’m seeing a ton of Common Core advocate catch phrases here. Granted if they actually consider international benchmarking then they should be throwing Common Core on the garbage heap. Having fewer standards are better. “Evidence-based research” is good if it goes beyond the research provided by the National Governors’ Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. Also, having elementary school be the starting point for standards should cause some improvements with early elementary standards. Previously it appeared the process was the exact opposite.

So I don’t want to say this is all bad, but it isn’t a repeal.

The review process looks very similar to what I’ve seen in other states. It leaves the door open to replacement, but it is set up to primarily be just a revision of the standards.

If I lived in Kentucky I wouldn’t get too excited about this. Granted it’s better than status quo at the moment, but, in my opinion, this bill is far from what was promised.

The Kentucky Senate Passes Common Core Repeal?

Photo credit: Matt Turner (CC-By-2.0)

The Kentucky Senate last week voted 35-0 to pass SB 1 a bill that supposedly would repeal Common Core from the Bluegrass State according to the local media and the key sponsor. The Lexington Herald-Ledger reports:

Under Senate Bill 1, revisions would be made to the Kentucky academic standards in 2017-18 and every six years after that. Teams of educators from public schools and higher education would recommend changes with suggestions from citizens.

Senate Bill 1 would repeal the controversial Common Core academic standards, but not until the new standards are rolled out in a staggered fashion, the bill’s sponsor State Sen. Mike Wilson, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has said.

There was some key language added in committee that could be problematic.

The amendment passed in part reads, ” require the Department of Education to be responsible for implementing the process for reviewing academic standards and assessments; clarify the role of the standards and assessment recommendation committee and rename it the standards and assessments process review committee.”

Richard Innes of the Bluegrass Institute also noted the actual bill doesn’t clearly repeal Common Core.

SB 1 does vaguely state, “In adopting the amendments to KRS 158.6453 contained in Section 3 of this Act, the General Assembly intends, among other actions, to repeal the common core standards.” But there’s no clear and outright mandate for such a repeal.

The bill does require a new process to review all standards and make recommendations for changes as deemed necessary. However, there’s nothing in the bill that directly repeals Common Core.

There also is no guarantee that the standards-review teams established by the bill will recommend any substantial changes to the existing cut-and-paste adoptions of Common Core in Kentucky’s current public school standards. The review process might lead to materially changed standards, or it might not.

We’ve yet to see a review process that has led to an incredibly favorable process. Innes notes some other concerns such as the requirement for post-secondary educators is thin. Hopefully the Kentucky House will include clear repeal language and Kentucky will not be headed for a weak rebrand.

Dismantling Common Core Is a Top Priority for Kentucky Senate

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AP reports that the Kentucky Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that would dismantle the Common Core State Standards. The Republicans, who hold majority status in the Senate, have made it their top priority.

This is in a state that was an early adopter of the Common Core and have seen dismal results since. Kentuckians also has a new anti-Common Core Governor in Matt Bevin.  The Kentucky House of Representatives is still Democrat led, but it’s possible that bipartisan opposition could be raised.

AP writes:

Senate Education Committee Chairman Mike Wilson said Wednesday the bill would create a new Kentucky-based system to oversee school standards and assessments. Wilson says the goal is to boost the number of students deemed college and career ready after graduating from high school.

Wilson says the current system has created a “quagmire of instructional compliance rather than results.”

Kentucky’s academic standards are based on the national Common Core standards.

The bill is the top priority of Senate Republicans in the 60-day session that began Tuesday.