Monday, May 11, 2015

In Kentucky, which adopted the Common Core first, the initiative receives little opposition

Although the Common Core State Standards have faced opposition in many states, they haven't faced much dissension in the first state to adopt them: Kentucky, which has been implementing testing related to the standards for four years, Carolina Porter reports for The Wall Street Journal.

Teachers unions haven't disputed the standards much in the state. "At the end of the day, we put pour political hatreds aside," said Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who supported the tougher standards. "It's going to be good for our kids and make us more competitive."

Before Kentucky adopted the standards, the state had a 75 percent high-school graduation rate; now the state has an 87 percent graduation rate, which exceeds the national average. "Today, teachers share Common Core aligned lesson plans, students say they notice more project-based work and administrators say the standards have become the status quo," Porter writes.

However, not everyone is in agreement. Rep. Thomas Kerr, a Republican state legislator, has on two occasions attempted to repeal the Common Core. "I hear from parents who say, 'I cannot help with my kids' homework,' Kerr said. "We're not teaching students the things they should know or need to know."

The Kentucky Education Association does not have a formal position on the Common Core, but union leaders have diligently provided teachers with the help they need to implement the standards. "Overall, it's been very positive," said Mary Ann Blankenship, executive director of the group.

The first year students were required to take the new, more difficult tests, their proficiency ratings dropped approximately 30 percent from the previous year. Now, proficiency levels are going up. In the third year of the new tests, the the percentage of students proficient in reading and math increased in all categories except high-school reading. "The college and career readiness rate increased to 63 percent from 54 percent in 2013," Porter writes. Terry Holliday, Kentucky's education commissioner, said it takes about five years for teachers and students to get used to the standards. "We're starting to see the gains from higher standards," he said. (Read more)

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