BY BOB KING AND TERRY HOLLIDAY

August 6, 2013

Three years after its unanimous adoption, several opposition groups are attempting to derail one of the most promising reforms in public education in decades.

The emerging argument about the common core standards is making headlines and creating unnecessary acrimony. It is our hope that we can state clearly what we know to be true and express unqualified support for Kentucky’s educators as they implement these new, important standards.

First, what do we mean by “standards”? In simplest terms, they are the words we use to describe what children need to know and be able to do at each stage of their education.

Kentucky’s General Assembly adopted Senate Bill 1 (2009) by a unanimous vote, directing the Department of Education and the Council on Postsecondary Education to work together to implement new K-12 standards that: are aligned with what our colleges and universities expect students to know in order to take credit-bearing courses upon admission and are benchmarked internationally so Kentucky students can compete against the world’s best-educated students.

The standards clearly describe to teachers what students need to know and be able to do at the end of kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and all the way up to high school graduation. However, the decisions on how to teach a subject, what textbooks to use, what homework to assign, etc. (what we generally refer to as the curriculum) remain a local decision made by local teachers, school boards and site-based councils.

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