This from the Courier-Journal:
After S.B. 1
Local school districts seem ready to make the best of the bad situation created by passage of Senate Bill 1, and by Gov. Steve Beshear's expected signing of the bad legislation.
No bill would have been much preferable to one that effectively suspends state accountability for three years, narrows attention to curriculum, guts emphasis on writing portfolios and indulges the Kentucky Education Association's lazy appeal to "just give everybody a breather."
Jefferson County Public Schools is wrong to drop testing in arts and humanities and vocational studies and practical living. It's wrong to drop the use of writing portfolios to help assess how schools are doing, especially since writing is the capstone skill with which students demonstrate their ability to assemble, synthesize and communicate information. Local parents who want their children to compete for top college acceptances and the best career opportunities want more emphasis on writing, not less.
However, JCPS as well as the Oldham County and Bullitt County systems at least will continue requiring and grading portfolios. As Bullitt school official Greg Schultz says, "How do we know if we're progressing if we don't continue that?" Oldham Superintendent Paul Upchurch takes the right approach when he says, "We're coming at this from the standpoint that we have to maintain accountability in every classroom and for every child."
That's more than one can say for the odd alliance of (1) Republicans who have opposed the Kentucky Education Reform Act since its passage; (2) reflexive right-wing opponents of public schools, and (3) teacher groups that find KERA too demanding.
The latter are the most surprising, and most disappointing, in that they joined hands with those who would like to see public schools crushed, some day, under the weight of public funding for private schools.
Most individual teachers are caring and hard-working, but during this legislative session their organized leadership stood for less accountability. And in the long run that likely will cost them public support.
It's a shame there has been no organization representing all those teachers who have embraced the challenge of KERA, rather than resist its goals and fear-monger its demands; who have accepted accountability for all the curriculum, not just part of it; who know that the wider world won't take "a breather" while Kentucky decides how to cheapen a historic school reform that provably has achieved so much.