Our statement on SB 1…the so called bill to eliminate Common Core. Our response may be lengthy but we thought it was a MUST to state all that is wrong with the legislation….mainly that it does not do what was promised…it does not eliminate Common Core.
The Kentucky General Assembly has taken up amending KRS 156.557 – a statute focused on education in Kentucky including primary and secondary school standards. It is very encouraging that the General Assembly is willing to take another look at this bill since it was the gate by which the educational experiment on our children, known as Common Core, came to Kentucky. There is much to like in the bill such as an attempt to reform teacher and school evaluations. Section 1.12.a.3 states that students get credit for arts and humanities upon completion of foreign language, application-oriented career and technical education courses, computer technology or programming courses that incorporate design and creativity.
But there are problems, the first of course being an absence of an outright repeal of the Common Core standards. Moreover, the Kentucky Constitution states in section 183: The General Assembly shall, by appropriate legislation, provide for an efficient system of common schools throughout the State. The most glaring deficiency in this bill is that the General Assembly once again evades its responsibilities by allowing the Kentucky Department of Education to implement all standards, policies, procedures and much of the methodology and regulations for teacher and school evaluations without the General Assembly’s approval much less a vote and signature by the Governor. What is the purpose of the Senate and House education committees, indeed what is the purpose of Section 183 of the Kentucky Constitution if all real decisions are left up to KDE discretion and whim? And where is all of the “local” control and parental input that Common Core advocates like to talk about? Even the officials elected by the people, much less the people themselves, have a say in what gets approved. It continues to track students by Social Security Number putting students at risk of privacy violations if and inviting academic researchers to hypothesize and test student data well after their educational years and without their consent. A separate student identification number would be easily implemented and suffice for tracking student progress through the time enrolled in public schools.
The bill mentions nothing about overall limits on the AMOUNT of HOURS of assessment testing that KDE is allowed to require. Currently JCPS tests 5th graders approximately 32 hours out of the year with KPREP testing and quarterly assessment tests. This excessive testing is one of the major complaints from teachers and parents about this experiment. Also, there is no prevision for parents to opt their children out of this testing like the ones that parents in Ohio, California and other states enjoy. Finally, all test results and related data should not be transferable to any non-government entity.
Disturbing still is that the General Assembly seems to leave the door open to further federal education experimentation regardless of the consequences to our children.
This bill does not eliminate Common Core as has been stated. We are asking the Senate GOP to rewrite SB 1 and follow the promise of Governor Bevin “that the Common Core will be no more”.