Process won't allow general shots at "common core"
This from Brad Hughes at KSBA:
The Kentucky Department of Education is planning a listening process about the first of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. KDE officials are making it clear, however, that the effort won’t be an opportunity for general attacks on the academic achievement measures originally labeled “common core,” a topic of much controversy in several other states where the marks continue to bear the name.
In Tuesday’s monthly webinar for superintendents, officials outlined the goals of the Unbridled Learning College/Career Readiness for All Accountability Model Survey, also to be known as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge.
“About every five years, we need to look at our standards. Many districts started implementing the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, which were known common core, during the spring of 2010. It’s time to be looking at them and making tweaks,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “We want to make sure the public has the ability to respond to the standards.”
Rebecca Blessing of KDE’s Division of Communications said an online survey, open to educators and the public, will begin later this month and run through March 2015.
“This is a challenge designed to gather public feedback, your feedback and that of your teachers on what they think needs to be tweaked with the standards,” she said. “We anticipate there may be people who have suggestions. Those comments will be posted online and evaluated by a team of Kentucky educators. Recommendations for any changes will then be made to the Kentucky Board of Education.”
Several times during the webinar segment, Blessing pointed to what KDE is – and is not – looking for from the process.
“We’re not opening this up as a referendum on the standards. The idea is for someone to actually read the standards and then to provide specific, actionable feedback,” she said. “General comments will not be considered, only those specifically tied to a standard.”
Blessing said the challenge has two main purposes.
“One is to increase people’s understanding and awareness about what the standards actually say. We’ve heard a lot of noise about what the standards are and are not, and this will give people the facts about what the standards actually say,” she said. “We’re hoping people will take the time to actually read the standards and feel like there are some changes that need to be made, they will have an opportunity to provide us with that actionable feedback.”
Blessing and Holliday said the survey will apply to English language arts and math standards, the first of the new core measures implemented in Kentucky four years ago. New Next-Generation Science Standards are being used for the first time this year in Kentucky schools. The proposed standards generated controversy during the 2014 legislative session over issues including global warming and evolution. There was no mention of the science standards during Tuesday’s webinar. However, Holliday has previously said he expects more anti-common core legislation in the 2015 General Assembly.