Business and education leaders urge the state to stay the course on rigorous standards

At the Kentucky Chamber’s 10th annual Business Summit, leaders in business and education stressed a need for the state to continue with the rigorous education standards currently in place.

Gene Wilhoit, CEO of the Center for Innovation in Education, noted many of the academic standards programs currently in place and the changes they have made.In his presentation, Wilhoit also discussed the creation of common core and the rigorous standards which Kentucky adopted in 2009. 

Closing his remarks, Wilhoit said the state “can not retreat” from the common core standards, stating that the rigorous standards have helped students in the state become college and career-ready and added that at a time when many employers feel the workforce lacks the knowledge and skills they need, standards are more important now than ever.

Wilhoit also added that he appreciates the voice of the business community in this conversation as the Kentucky Chamber has been a supporter of the standards as a way to make sure Kentuckians are getting the education they need and are prepared to enter a workforce that can compete with other states. 

James R. Allen, President and CEO of Hillard Lyons, said he believes it is key that the state stay the course with the standards as he feels it is an “important piece of the puzzle of our economic vitality.”

Allen, chair of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation’s Business Leader Champions for Education, said the standards are a way to make sure students are college and workforce ready. He pointed to a recent survey that showed high support for the standards and noted teachers and local school boards develop their own curriculum.

Upon questions from the audience, Brigitte Blom Ramsey of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, said if the standards were repealed at this point, students and teachers would suffer as the changes would cause a shock in the classroom and cause lower achievement levels.

Ramsey said as we move into a new administration, it is time to move away from a discussion about repealing the standards and rather start talking about the outcomes at the community level.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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