I appear on KET’s Kentucky Tonight show this evening talking about education, and I thought our readers might like more information about some of the things I hope to discuss. So, here is a topic listing with links to more information. I may update this blog after the show.
Why Kentucky Needs School Choice
This blog article shows that the white minus black achievement gaps in math and reading have grown in Kentucky since KERA was enacted in 1990. We clearly need more effective education programs for our children of color, and recent research “indicates black students, students in poverty, and English language learners benefit from attending charter schools.”
NAEP scores for Jefferson County Public Schools and the National Charter School Average Scores
(Why Kentucky Needs School Choice)
This graph compares 2013 NAEP Grade 8 Math scores for Jefferson County Public Schools to the nationwide average scores for all charter schools. It is clear that even if charters were in Louisville and only produced average scores, Jefferson County students would still be better off with some charter schools in their area. All the score differences shown are statistically significantly different.
NAEP scores show Kentucky’s white’s really lag in math
I’ve written before about this subject, but these two maps show how badly Kentucky’s white students, who make up more than 80 percent of the state’s total public school enrollment, performed against whites in other states. It is clear that claims Kentucky has moved up to about the middle of the states in education quickly evaporate when this important disaggregated data is examined.
The bitter truth is that our white students only statistically significantly outperformed students in just one other state, West Virginia, in both fourth and eighth grade NAEP math testing in 2013.
This calculation needs some changes to become credible. At present, it is probably providing inflated data and the data cannot be confidently compared across schools and districts.
The EXPLORE is a real readiness test that shows if our eighth grade students are on track to be ready for college, and probably for most careers as well. The recent decline in Kentucky’s scores during the Common Core years is very disturbing.
Common Core was created with a “confidential” (which dictionaries define as “secret”) process
There has been a lot of nonsense about whether or not the Common Core was created in secret. The facts are that the Common Core was created in “Work Groups” set up by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and a July 1, 2009 news release clearly states:
“The Work Group’s deliberations will be confidential throughout the process.”
The release also says:
“States and national education organizations will have an opportunity to review and provide evidence-based feedback on the draft documents throughout the process.”
However, how those suggestions and all suggestions collected from the general public were actually processed in secret meetings.
Common Core only describes minimum standards
Commissioner Holliday and Governor Beshear admit this in an Op-Ed they jointly released in 2013 for one example.
Subjects like trigonometry and pre-calculus are not included, leaving Kentucky’s “advanced students” on their own. Some schools may offer good courses in Trig and Pre-Calc, but others might not because no-one in Frankfort is monitoring quality. A Common Core-only curriculum will not prepare students to enter science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) careers.
Senate Bill 1 from 2009 did not envision using Common Core
This Huffington Post article says Kentucky Commissioner of Education didn’t come up with the idea of using Common Core to satisfy requirements of Senate Bill 1 until he attended a meeting in Chicago in April of 2009. However, Governor Steve Beshear signed SB-1 on March 25, 2009.
This confirms comments from Kentucky state senator Katie Stine, who sponsored SB-1 and says the goals of this bill were higher than those found in Common Core.
The federal government was invited to get involved with Common Core from the start
In 2009 Governor Steve Beshear signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers that talks about a “Federal Role” in the process. While that role was supposed to be limited to providing “financial support” and creation of new assessments, it would be a very unusual circumstance when federal strings didn’t follow federal money.
Protestations from the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers that the federal government horned in on Common Core are not supported by the facts. The feds were invited.
For a general outline of Common Core issues, read this article from freedomkentucky.org