Kentucky Legislature Sends a Common Core Review Bill to Governor

Photo credit: Matt Turner (CC-By-2.0)

An update on SB 1, after it passed in the Kentucky Senate 35-0 back in February it was amended in the Kentucky House and then passed 94-0 on March 15th. Since it was amended the Senate had to take it up again and they passed it on Wednesday 37-0.

The bill was then delivered to Governor Matt Bevin for his signature.

What does it do?

Here is how the Associated Press described it:

Kentucky lawmakers have wrapped up work on an education bill that would gradually repeal Common Core standards and give school districts more control in how to turn around low-performing schools.

Here’s what the bill calls for:

Beginning in fiscal year 2017-2018, and every six (6) years thereafter, the Kentucky Department of Education shall implement a process for reviewing Kentucky’s academic standards and the alignment of corresponding assessments for possible revision or replacement to ensure alignment with postsecondary readiness standards necessary for global competitiveness and with state career and technical education standards.

They get into some specifics:

The revisions to the content standards shall:

  1. Focus on critical knowledge, skills, and capacities needed for success in the global economy;
  2. Result in fewer but more in-depth standards to facilitate mastery learning;
  3. Communicate expectations more clearly and concisely to teachers, parents, students, and citizens;
  4. Be based on evidence-based research;
  5. Consider international benchmarks; and
  6. Ensure that the standards are aligned from elementary to high school to postsecondary education so that students can be successful at each education level.

I’m seeing a ton of Common Core advocate catch phrases here. Granted if they actually consider international benchmarking then they should be throwing Common Core on the garbage heap. Having fewer standards are better. “Evidence-based research” is good if it goes beyond the research provided by the National Governors’ Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. Also, having elementary school be the starting point for standards should cause some improvements with early elementary standards. Previously it appeared the process was the exact opposite.

So I don’t want to say this is all bad, but it isn’t a repeal.

The review process looks very similar to what I’ve seen in other states. It leaves the door open to replacement, but it is set up to primarily be just a revision of the standards.

If I lived in Kentucky I wouldn’t get too excited about this. Granted it’s better than status quo at the moment, but, in my opinion, this bill is far from what was promised.