Kentucky, Common Core and the New Social Studies Standards

New Social Studies Standards
New Social Studies Standards

All those fighting for the repeal of Common Core in Kentucky recently received some very hopeful news regarding the proposed Social Studies Standards poised for implementation in Frankfort. Originally slated for consideration next month, the Kentucky Board of Education has decided to postpone their decision and extend the public comment period to December 5, using this data to evaluate the new standards and possibly make changes.

“This is a change in public comment policy from the approach used for the contentious Next Generation Science Standards,” said Dick Innes of the Bluegrass Institute, “and could pave the way for a better policy creation process in the future.”

The new standards reflect the overwhelming bias and ideological manipulation that define Common Core. Topics omitted or scarcely mentioned are ones most of us would consider crucial to a comprehensive, well-rounded education and paramount in the development of educated, responsible citizens: the American Revolution (as well as the absence of the word “revolution”), the Civil War, World War I, World War II and Vietnam. As Innes points out, “The term “War” is totally omitted in the proposed standards. Most of our country’s major wars, which are listed in the state’s current standards, are completely ignored. That would include how we got into these conflicts, how things changed because of them as well as what we might have done differently to possibly avoid some of those bloody affairs.”

The U.S. Constitution is covered, but there are no details provided and terms such as the Bill of Rights or the Preamble are not mentioned. The individual branches of government are out, as well as Martin Luther King Jr., the Great Depression, the Kentucky Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Also, specific skills present in the current standards such as map reading are only vaguely discussed, and what will/will not be covered is left wide open. There is no way for teachers to have a clear idea of what will be on the standardized assessments, and we can expect wildly-varied lesson plans and huge informational gaps across the state 2011 Kentucky History Teacher of the Year Donnie Wilkerson recently shared his frustration and lack of confidence in the new standards with the folks in Frankfort.

Initially included in a group of educators brought together to discuss and evaluate the proposed standards, Wilkerson’s group worked on a comprehensive social studies plan that would include specifics on what was taught and when. Though they had been told multiple options would be considered, they soon learned that only the C3 framework would be used and the role of history would be minimized. Objections to this proposal got the group disbanded and their concerns ignored.

The weeks between now and December 5 are crucial. Our voices need to be heard if we want to change the social studies sub-standards that are looming for Kentucky’s students. If you are ready to share your opinion with Frankfort there are two options:

a survey-style response site at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KYSSpublic, or direct mail via, Kentucky Board of Education, c/o Kentucky Department of Education, 501 Mero Street, Frankfort, KY 40601

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