Reviewing Kentucky’s Education Power Structure: Terry Holliday, Part Two

Written by KACC writer:
Wayne M. Meyer,

On March 13, 2014, the Senate Committee on Education held a hearing regarding Senate Bill 224, which would effectively repeal Common Core in Kentucky.  Commissioner Terry Holliday noted that too many students were graduating from high school and entering postsecondary education unprepared to be successful in college level courses. Too many students had to take remedial courses in college which placed a financial strain on students and parents and decreased the likelihood of the students successfully completing a two- or four-year degree. The lack of college readiness, if not addressed, would have a negative impact on the Kentucky economy.  That is why the Kentucky Core Academic Standards must remain.

After waiting years to finally have a chance to speak out against the federal overreach of our education system, Kentuckians against Common Core along with national experts provided compelling arguments why the Common Core State Standards (Kentucky Core Academic Standards) should be repealed and replaced with new education standards developed for Kentuckians, by Kentuckians.

During his testimony Dr. Holliday stated, “Kentucky students are not headed for STEM, but they are headed for careers which pay a ‘living wage’.  They are not headed for an elitist university degree.”  If that is what the Common Core provides for the students of Kentucky, that would be appalling and would appear contrary to the 2009 SB 1 which mandates new academic standards focused on the “critical knowledge, skills and capacities needed for success in the global economy.”  Surely Kentuckians can, and must, do better than aspire to just be able to make a ‘living wage’.

Even after this long awaited hearing and excellent testimony against the standards, Senator Mike Wilson decided to take no action.  “The bill to repeal Common Core isn’t likely to go further this session.”  So, what’s the purpose of holding a public hearing if no action is to be taken?

On August 25, 2014 Commissioner Holliday announced the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge.  This Challenge “is designed to challenge stakeholders to read the standards and then provide specific, actionable feedback on any particular standards with which they have an issue.”  This exercise will remain open until April 30, 2015 to give those who are interested ample opportunity to provide a thoughtful response.  The submitted changes and additions will be submitted to the Kentucky Board of Education, which will consider—and hold public hearings on—the revisions.

This seven-month exercise falsely empowers teachers and others the opportunity to “tweak and improve” specific Kentucky Core Academic Standards when Kentucky has no ability or right to make such changes. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) are acknowledged as the sole owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards (copyrighted), and no claims to the contrary shall be made.  The Kentucky Board of Education may collect feedback on specific standards but only the NGA Center/CCSSO, as national non-partisan/non-profit professional associations, can make changes to the Standards.

Commissioner, Terry Holliday, as the former President of the CCSSO, could have noted this seven-month program of collecting feedback as part of a national program, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.  On face value, it appears that this is simply a public relation move for the Department of Education, based on a false premise that changes and improvements can be made to the Kentucky Core Academic Standards.

Kentuckians would rather see members of this power structure develop education standards and their aligned assessments for Kentuckians, by Kentuckians, rather than adopting standards that were developed in secret behind closed doors at the national level, and copyrighted.  Transparency is critical to us, as is control of our education system at the state and local levels.

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