Proud to call itself the first state to adopt the Common Core standards back in 2010, Kentucky has faced its fair share of debate, especially with its location in such a conservative part of the nation. Given a “D” rating of its educational system prior to Core adoption, the state was more than happy to jump on these higher standards as a way to help the state’s children become competitive on a global level.
For Rich and Poor
As in most states, the districts hit hardest by this change have been those in the lowest performing areas where attendance rates spike on days when children receive backpacks of free food to take home. While challenging, it’s these areas officials are hoping the Core can help out.
Test scores from 2012 to 2013 showed slight improvement, but improvement nonetheless. Kentucky actually continued to lead the Core alterations with their first Core-based standardized tests appearing in 2012. Unsurprisingly, these higher standards resulted in a predicted drop. The following year, these results increased. Even so, this increase wasn’t enough to keep opponents quiet. Since then, it’s been nothing but growing dissent, a dissent matched up with the ever increasing political fervor influenced by election year.
The Threat of Dismantling
Just recently, Republicans revealed a bill that would break apart Common Core for good in the state, taking power away from what they believe to be government rule and giving it back to the state. While all well and good in light of the conservative dislike of the Core, both sides are quick to point out that such laws have passed in other states and have merely rebranded the standards, making the whole thing a waste of time and resources.
In the end, most professionals feel that there just isn’t enough data to determine if the Core has been beneficial or detrimental. Even with improving scores, there’s always room for doubt when no clear successes have been achieved. Because of this, even those against Common Core are hesitant to see the Republican bill pass. Everyone certainly wants what is best for the students, but is changing up their curriculum again in less than five years really worth it?
The future of Common Core in Kentucky is a bit harder to discern than other states. Both opponents and proponents remain vocal about their beliefs, making the state appear to be in a highly tumultuous state. Students are certainly challenged by these new standards, so that, at least, shines a positive light on the topic. However, rigorous academics may not be enough to overshadow politically motivated leaders of the state. Arguably, it could be said that this debate will only get louder as election season grows and will finally calm down following November. If that holds true, then Common Core will more than likely remain a staple of Kentucky’s current educational system.