Price of academic standards repeal would fall on teachers but state needs change, Bevin says

After legislation was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2009 calling for more rigorous education standards, Kentucky was the first to adopt new academic standards developed by a group of several dozen states to improve students’ education attainment.

Since the standards were fully implemented in 2011, many education leaders cite the results to include higher graduation rates, more college and career-ready students, higher levels of reading proficiency in the earlier years of schooling and more.

However, there has been a lot of controversy over the issue of what are sometimes called the common core standards. The issue has become a hot button topic in the 2015 governor’s race as Republican candidate Matt Bevin has said he would like to see the state do away with the standards.

In a sit down interview with the Kentucky Chamber, Bevin said he does not believe the common core standards are working the way they were meant to.

“Granted, we had a system that didn’t work well. Understood why we were looking for something better. But we jumped for something before we even looked into the pool,” Bevin said, arguing that the standards had not yet been written before we “signed up” for them.

The standards actually had been drafted by the time in 2010 that Kentucky adopted them through the joint action of the state Board of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education and the Education Professional Standards Board (which oversees teacher certification). They were finalized a few months later before Kentucky implemented the standards.

As for the price tag of repeal, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said getting rid of the standards would cost the state around $35 million.

When asked about the estimated amount that the state would incur to do away with the standards, Bevin noted wasteful spending in other areas of state government and said that amount would not be the problem.

“The idea that 30 to 35 million dollars is the rub is a false argument. That’s not nothing, that’s real money and that’s taxpayer money,” Bevin said (at 4:30). “The biggest cost is the cost on the teachers who have to go through yet another change. That’s where I am sensitive to this issue.”

Bevin went on to say there is no perfect solution in the case of the standards and what they could be replaced with but cited states like Massachusetts and suggested that Kentucky bring its own educators, principals and others in the academic field together to form new standards that give local control.

However, the Kentucky Department of Education points out that Kentucky teachers were involved in the development of the current academic standards and Commissioner Holliday noted that the standards have been tweaked in the state and are now called the Kentucky Core Academic Standards.

From the Kentucky Department of Education:

“The drafting process for the standards included broad input from Kentucky teachers, administrators, higher education officials, education partners, the public, staffs of the three participating agencies (CPE, EPSB and KDE), a national validation committee and national education organizations. The federal government did not direct or even suggest what should be included. In fact, federal law prohibits dictating a national curriculum.”

Hear more of what Bevin had to say on the topic by watching the full interview below:

One-on-one interviews with Democratic candidate Jack Conway and Independent candidate Drew Curtis will be posted on Bottom Line in the coming weeks.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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