KEA backs top priority Senate bill reforming education

02/06/2017 09:59 PM

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Education Association is backing Senate Republican’s top priority education reform bill this session.

Senate Bill 1 would largely change the shape of education in the commonwealth by more closely mirroring the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allowing more local control and ending the influence of Common Core in both state standards and assessments.

KEA President Stephanie Winkler said KEA is in support of the legislation this session in large part due to input from stakeholders in the past year. Winkle told Pure Politics on Monday that the bill makes strides to make education better for kids in Kentucky.

The proposed legislation would call for a state Standards and Review Structure recurring every six years in a staggered sequence in the following four subject areas: language arts, math, science and social studies.

There would be a public review portion of the standards review, then a review of the suggestions by an advisory panel comprised of elementary, middle and high school teachers and a Kentucky higher education representative.

The advisory panel’s standards recommendations would go to the Purpose for Advisory Panels who would recommend to Review and Development Committee changes in standards and/or alignment adjustments for assessments.

The next step is the Standard Assessments Review and Development Committee which would consist of teachers in each of the four subject areas, and a higher education representative, and they would review the three advisory panel findings and revise or replace existing standards and/or propose alignment adjustments for assessments.

Their recommendations would move on to the Standards and Assessments Recommendation Committee consisting of three governor appointees, two Senators appointed by the Senate President, three Representatives appointed by the House Speaker and the Commissioner of Education, who would review processes to ensure that all feedback was heard before sending the final recommendations on to the Kentucky Board of Education which would review recommendations before adopting Kentucky Academic Standards and Assessment.

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.

Wilkerson said the standards reviews are good because teachers in the field would be reviewing the changes in education in Kentucky. However, the KEA does have some heartburn when it comes to the Standards and Assessments Recommendation Committee which is made up of political appointees.

“We don’t feel it’s necessary to have another group of Governor and Senate and House leadership appointees, even though Sen. Wilson has stated the only purpose for that layer of the review is to make sure things are going as supposed to, but we just don’t feel it is necessary,” Winkler said. “As long as the [Education] Department is overseeing the stakeholders and community members involvement in process that the standards review should go smoothly.”

Winkler said the KEA and others anticipated seeing a committee substitute of the legislation on Thursday, two days after lawmakers return for the second part of the regular session.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News or anytime with Spectrum On Demand.Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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