A couple of years ago, then Education Commissioner Jon Draud said out loud what a lot of Kentucky educators already knew - Kentucky was at the crossroads.
Would off-the-shelf norm-reference tests and their secret curriculum become the way forward for Kentucky students? Would the death of CATS spell the end of education reform in the state? Would citizens continue to support their schools even as the early trailblazers of 21st century Education Reform 1.0 were passing into history?
Kentucky had a choice to make, and following the new and improved Senate Bill 1 of a year later, and the near-heroic efforts (so far) to maintain school funding in the face of a profound recession, the choice has been made.
No longer at the crossroads, Kentucky has hitched it's wagon to common core standards, a movement of some national import.
Current Commissioner Terry Holliday told the assembly at this week's KBE/CPE/EPSB joint meeting that Kentuckians wishing to know where the state is headed educationally need only look at KDE's application for Race to the Top grant funds for a road map.
So what's in our immediate future?
This from the Commish at Dr. H's Blog:
We are scheduling a statewide summit in early April to roll out the plan, and we will then keep the public and legislative leaders informed of our progress through a Web-based project management plan. The plan ensures the level of engagement, professional development and public awareness that will be necessary to make certain every parent and every businessperson in Kentucky knows why we are implementing the Common Core Standards.
The main reason – our children.
A young person who graduates from a Kentucky high school should know that he/she is prepared for college and/or career based on his/her choice. We must eliminate the need for high school graduates to pay for remediation courses for which they do not receive college credit.
The responsibility will be a shared responsibility. Teachers must address the needs of ALL students, students must be held accountable for individual progress, and parents must be involved in supporting schools and their children. The future is in all of our hands, and my few months in Kentucky have convinced me that Kentucky teachers, students and parents can rise to challenge.