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A common complaint

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KDE wants questions, concerns with Common Core standards

By Ashley Sutter

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced Monday morning that the department of education is seeking feedback in regards to the state’s Common Core standards.

Holliday explained that the words “common core” have become a politically divisive term.  Education standards should not be a political issue, he said.

“Political opinions have taken over control of the discussion about education standards,” he said. “People are against the Common Core standards just because of the name and the federal intrusion that they think these standards represent.”

In response to the outcry of the public, Holliday has issued the "Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge," which he says he hopes will draw input from parents and teachers across the state.

“In Kentucky…we need to demonstrate that the focus is not about whether you support the Common Core state standards or whether you’re against the Common Core state standards,” Holliday said.  “The focus in Kentucky should be on what our children in Kentucky need to know and be able to do so that they graduate high school ready for college, career, and life.”

The Kentucky Department of Education launched www.kentucky.statestandards.org on Monday morning and the site will remain open until April 30, 2015. 

The site will be used, not as a voting mechanism, but rather as a means for offering constructive criticism.  Parents, teachers, school staff members, students and any concerned community member can utilize the site to view the standards and offer their approval or disapproval and suggestions for improvement.

“We’ve been using Common Core for five years,” Shelby County Public Schools Public Relations Coordinator Ryan Allan said.  “We need feedback as to whether or not it is accurate.”

Allan said that the district has embraced the Common Core standards, but feel this is an opportune chance for the teachers in the district to be heard.

“I think it’s a great opportunity and one that they will embrace,” he said. “I think the teachers will say, ‘We’re the ones on the frontlines and we’d like to give the feedback.’”

Following the closing of the site in April, the information will be gathered and made available to the public. Thereafter, a committee of teachers and parents will be formed to make any necessary alterations to the standards.  The suggested revisions will then be submitted to KDE, which will in-turn consider accepting those changes.

Kentucky was the first to adopt the Common Core Standards Initiative in 2009 and began implementation in 2010.  In 2013, it was reported that graduation rates had increased 6 percent in the state.