I wrote a few days ago in this blog about learning by accident that a public review of the proposed revision to Kentucky’s social studies standards had been announced by Commissioner Terry Holliday in a “Fast Five on Friday” e-mail to school staff.
That Fast Five went out way back on June 26, 2015. A full month later, no public announcement of the review had been released by the Kentucky Department of Education.
Finally, on August 4, 2015 the Kentucky Department of Education got around to publishing a news release announcing the review.
Interestingly, this formal announcement adds something new to the request found in the Fast Five message.
In the Fast Five announcement it said:
“Through Wednesday, September 30, all who are interested are invited to review the proposed standards in social studies and share feedback and suggestions that may be used to refine them prior to final consideration for adoption.”
Notice that this only calls for suggestions to “refine” the very poorly framed standards.
The News Release puts it a bit differently, saying:
“The public is invited to provide feedback on any or all of the proposed social studies standards by using this link: www.surveymonkey.com/r/kyss2015. Those who feel that a standard should be revised also are asked to share their rationale for why the standard needs to be revised.”
So, the department now seems more willing to look at revising the standards, not just “refining” them. That more open attitude is helpful and an important sea change.
Now, it is up to you to take some time to look at the very vacuous draft standards and make major suggestions for improvement. I already took time to write to each school board member with my ideas, which you can read here.
One more point, people like Kentucky’s History Teacher of the Year Donnie Wilkerson and I are far from the only people concerned about the very poor quality of the current working draft of the social studies revision.
The current working draft, dated March 2015, is little changed from the one the Kentucky Board of Education looked at back on October 7, 2014. Even a well-known blogger from the Prichard Committee has let it be known that she also sees problems with a social studies standard that is devoid of history content. You can read about that in “Susan’s Opinion: Social Studies without History is a Bad Idea.”
Keep in mind that when the Bluegrass Institute and the Prichard Committee agree about something, there are people in this state who think that is important enough for the governor to call a special session to make the changes!
In any event, our kids deserve to know more about this country’s and the world’s history, economics and governmental issues than they are going to get from the draft standards currently available. Please take some time to let Kentucky Board of Education and Department of Education folks know you want more for our children.