Education reform becomes number one priority for Senate in 2016

01/06/2016 06:42 PM

FRANKFORT – Legislation which would create new recurring standards and assessment review structure in assessing Kentucky’s public schools is the top priority legislation for the Kentucky Senate in 2016.

Senate Bill 1, sponsored by Sen. Mike Wilson, R-Bowling Green, calls for an independent third party selected by the Kentucky Department of Education to collect public comments in core subject areas, via a website set up by the Kentucky Board of Education.

The website would ensure the public’s assistance in reviewing and suggesting changes to the state standards and alignment of corresponding assessments.

Those comments and suggestions would then go through a series of panels and committees of Kentucky teachers, and Kentucky higher education representatives, before finally going to the Kentucky Board of Education for implementation of Kentucky’s newly created academic standards and assessment alignment.

The process would take place every six years in the commonwealth, if the legislation is adopted by both chambers and signed into law by Gov. Matt Bevin.

As for implementation, the new state standards and corresponding aligned assessments would be implemented in Kentucky public schools no later than the second academic year following the review process.

Wilson explained the bill on the floor of the Senate by saying that it was fixing what Senate Bill 1, passed in 2009, has failed to do, which was to increase the number of students that enrolling into post-secondary education.

“We’re going to go back to what our intentions were (with SB 1) and with our academic standards, we are going to implement a Kentucky led system for recurring review, revision, and possible replacement of state academic standards, with a simultaneous examination of whether state assessments are accurately aligned with those standards,” Wilson said. “We’re going to do it with Kentucky led practitioners from our state.”

Wilson said that the current Common Core education system has left school districts in a “quagmire” of instructional compliance rather than results.

“It returns it back to a place where Kentucky takes control of its own standards, with its own practitioners, reviewing, revising, replacing if necessary, and in the end, having our own standards, and every six years we can go and update those if we need to,” Wilson said.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said doing away with Common Core became the Senate’s number one priority because of the importance of the state to fully have a say in how its students are educated.

“We want to get back to controlling our standards,” Stivers said. “There has been such misinterpretation of what we were trying to do with Senate Bill 1 years ago that it has become a total distraction to the educational process.”

About Don Weber

Don Weber joined cn|2 when it launched back in May 2010 and soon became a reporter for Pure Politics. He is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University and has spent many years covering everything from politics to sports. Don says he loves meeting new people everyday as part of his job and also enjoys the fact that no two days are the same when he comes to work. Don Weber can be reached at donald.weber@charter.com.

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