Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bill to eliminate Common Core and Science Standards unlikely to see a vote

HB 215 would waste millions in state funds

This from the Herald-Leader:
State Rep. Derrick Graham, chairman of the House Education Committee, said he doesn't intend to call for a vote a bill that would eliminate the Common Core national education standards and the Next Generation Science Standards in Kentucky.

Thomas Kerr
House Bill 215 was introduced last week by state Rep. Thomas Kerr, R-Taylor Mill, and was co-signed by several House Republicans, including Stan Lee, R-Lexington.

Gov. Steve Beshear decided in 2013 to implement the science standards even though a legislative review subcommittee rejected them. Endorsed by several science groups and approved by the Kentucky Board of Education twice, the science standards have established the concepts and skills that Kentucky students would be expected to master in grades K-12. They were drafted cooperatively by Kentucky and 25 other states.

In 2010, Kentucky became the first state to adopt the Common Core standards, and 40 states followed. The Common Core content standards in math and English language arts — designed to better prepare students for college — were mandated by Senate Bill 1, which became law in 2009.
House Bill 215 would prohibit the Kentucky Board of Education and the Kentucky Department of Education from implementing the English language arts and mathematics academic content standards developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative and the science academic content standards developed by the Next Generation Science Standards Initiative.

The legislation would require the state education board to recommend new content standards to school districts and schools after consulting the Council on Postsecondary Education, and would require public involvement in developing standards.

Kerr and Lee didn't return telephone calls Wednesday. Last year, two conservative groups — Take Back Kentucky and Kentuckians Against Common Core Standards — circulated online alerts urging Kentuckians to contact state legislators to voice opposition. House Bill 215 has been referred to the House Education Committee for an initial hearing.

With residents pushing for the standards, and "with the education community behind it ... and the governor also being supportive of it, I don't see the need for us to take up the issue," Graham said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's settled."

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said that bills like HB215 are popping up across the nation., He said it is "more of a political issue than an education issue." Already, districts choose and local boards of education approve the curriculum their teachers use, Holliday said. He added that local school boards have the authority to go beyond the standards, which represent the minimum of what students should know and be able to do.

The science standards are expected to be implemented by this fall. The Herald-Leader previously reported that opponents, including some residents and the Family Foundation of Kentucky, have attacked the science standards on various grounds.

Some detractors argue that the standards treat evolution as fact rather than theory. Others claim that the guidelines overemphasize global climate issues while ignoring other areas of science.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

Once again, the voice of reason prevails,but I don't understand the opposition to Common Core. Are we simply a state that regards intellectual persuits as something subversive? Is the opposition by these grumpy white guys motivated by a distaste for the policies of our first African American president? Help from readers would be great....I simply don't understand the Kentucky psyche here.

Anonymous said...

RE: Anonymous, January 24, 2014 at 9:04 AM

There are very real, well-reasoned concerns about Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards that have nothing to do with politics, evolution or climate issues. If you do a little research on the web, you’ll have no trouble finding information.

For example, a disturbing case is being made that the science standards cut off after the 10th grade level because they don’t include most of the material from high school chemistry and physics. Amazingly, that case is bolstered by a statement found in the science standards’ own web site that says students who want to go into STEM careers will need more than the standards provide.

The Common Core math standards have also been challenged because they reportedly don’t include much from trigonometry or precalculus, which essentially would mean those standards also cut off after the 10th grade, at least for the educational material STEM-aspiring students need.

Why would standards that are supposed to prepare students from K to 12 and trumpet STEM preparation leave out the last two years of material needed by a large number of better-performing students who want STEM careers?

Do minimalist standards truly comply with Kentucky’s 2009 Senate Bill 1, which requires the state’s educators to develop a full set of standards covering Kindergarten through the 12th grade so that all students can succeed?

There are also concerns about some of the standards for the lower grades. One that might prove most important is coming from child psychologists who say some of the more advanced material has been pushed to too low a grade. Reports of child frustration are becoming more numerous on the web. Just Google with common sense search terms like “Child frustration with common core state standards.” The effort can be enlightening.

Those who don’t understand would do well to spend some time doing some research. Start out with Valerie Strauss’ blog at the Washington Post. She is carrying all sorts of information from educators who are unhappy with Common Core. Ask yourself why Diane Ravitch, who is certainly no conservative, is speaking out against Common Core. Find out why 132 Catholic scholars from schools like Princeton, Notre Dame University and Georgetown petitioned their faith’s leaders to get Common Core out of the parochial system.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response. I'm not originally from Kentucky, and I don't think Common Core is a panacea, but it seems to me that much of the opposition the opposition is coming from fundamentalist Christians who are frightened by anything that does not support their views.

Can you give me two links: 1) for Diane Ravitch's opposition 2) The petition of the Catholic scholars.

I'd be grateful.

Anonymous said...

Adding to the previous comment, teachers watching this blog will find the vote this weekend by New York’s teachers union highly disturbing. The 600,000 member New York State Teachers Union just reversed themselves and voted to throw out Common Core and are also calling for dismissal of the head of the New York State Department of Education. Politico has the details here:

Richard Day said...

There may well be “very real, well-reasoned concerns about Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards that have nothing to do with politics” but conservatives failed to notice them until the RNC announced its campaign to oppose Common Core nationwide. The opposition is clearly political.

Ravitch is an interesting case. I never thought of Ravitch as a conservative either – until she spent those decades with George H. W. Bush and the Hoover Institute. After the prodigal daughter returned home (I assume, after making a bunch of money at Hoover) to her Cremin roots, she has fiercely warned the nation of the conservatives’ intent to subvert public education. She was in the best position to know. But in Reign of Error she seems careful not to disparage the idea of curriculum standards. Rather she attacks them as a subset of the corporate education reform agenda -making millions for corporations through curriculum development and testing, basing teacher evaluations on curriculum standards and test scores…that sort of thing.

The standards are intended to describe college-readiness…not a K-12 curriculum. If they are rigorous enough to assure that a high school diploma means that the holder is ready for credit bearing college course work, the standards have done the job. And yes, they satisfy the requirements of SB1.

Except on the edges, I don’t think opposition to CCSS is being driven by fundamentalist Christians. It’s an RNC political movement.

The best on-going source for Ravitch is her blog. And she spoke in NY last week (or the week before). She has been influential there. You might want to pull that speech up.

I don’t know anything about Catholic opposition but I can’t see it as different from other private schools – take Sidwell Friends, which does not use CCSS either. Private schools call their own tunes.

Anonymous said...

Just glad to see teachers becoming more proactive and engage in taking control of their profession instead of having non-educators impose their will and regulations on educators.

I remember back when everyone was suppose to be proficent this year of 2014. Was it educational leaders or teachers who keep changing the course of the ship?

Anonymous said...

RE: Anonymous January 26, 2014 at 1:58 PM

You asked for links. This is all easy to Google, but here you go:

1) for Diane Ravitch's opposition

Find her blog here:

Scroll to the bottom of the page to find search topics, which include "common Core."

2) The petition of the Catholic scholars.

This is available in many places including Washington Post education blogger Valerie Struass' web area here:

You'll find another source in this Education Week article: