LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Education officials in Kentucky say the state has become a leader in instituting the new Common Core standards.
Kentucky became the first state to implement the more rigorous curriculum in math and reading lessons two years ago. The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/1gb10Xm) reports that teachers in the state have embraced the changes and are offering encouragement to educators in other states who have hesitated in adopting them.
"Our teachers have been strong leaders," Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said. "They have worked collaboratively to share resources, assessment items and lesson plans."
The goal is to make sure that students are prepared for college and the workforce when the graduate from high school.
"The first few years of implementing the Common Core was hard because the kids didn't have the foundation," said Kathy Young, who teaches at Hite Elementary School in Jefferson County. "But now that the foundation has been laid, it's getting easier to teach, and the kids have responded well — they are meeting the challenges we have given them."
Test results immediately after implementing the new standards were poor — sores showed that not even a third of students from third to eighth grade were proficient in math and reading.
Even so, Holliday said he still believes in the new curriculum.
"Only time will tell if this was the right move," Holliday said. "However, early results show we are making significant progress with graduation and college/career ready rates."
Some politicians and educators oppose the implementation of Common Core saying it has a liberal bias and are not legitimate.
"They are not rigorous, they are not internationally comparable and they are not research-based," said Sandra Stotsky, a professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas who served on the Common Core Validation Committee and refused to sign off on the standards.
Holliday, who is part of a coalition that helped design Common Core, said the change is best for students despite a slow start.
"It would certainly be more enjoyable for me to keep the tests the way they were and see more students receive higher scores, but it would also be wrong," he said. "We do our students no favors when we tell them they are ready to succeed in the world when they are not."
Michael Cohen, president of Achieve — a bipartisan, nonprofit organization founded by governors and the nation's business leaders — said the results likely will improve.
"As teachers become increasingly skilled at implementing the standards in their classrooms, our students will do better on the tests and be better prepared for their future," he said.
Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com