Back in 2002, Kentucky and four other states signed on to the American Diploma Project’s (ADP) pilot program to create a better set of high school math and English standards. We were on the ground floor of an opportunity to really improve education for our kids. Now, a new report shows that once the final ADP program was up and running, Kentucky’s educators basically just dropped out.
The ADP program looks very solid. Working with educators in the pilot states along with leaders from business and industry and subject matter experts in our universities, this powerful consortium created a detailed, and very impressive, set of standards for both English and math (See pages 7 to 9 in the linked report for the Core Benchmarks. Don’t fail to contrast the ADP’s solid report writing requirements to the far less valuable “fluff” in our much-criticized writing portfolio program).
The ADP claims their new standards, “…reflect the knowledge and skills all students should gain in high school to ensure that they are prepared to enter and succeed in credit-bearing college courses or to gain entry-level positions in high-paying careers that offer opportunities to advance.” Considering the extensive, cross-state collaboration that produced the standards, and looking at the standards themselves, it appears the ADP did a powerful job in meeting that claim.
The ADP also created “Alignment Institutes” to help states work through the difficult process of bringing their existing standards up to the ADP level. This offered states invaluable access to extensive additional resources to help improve the quality of their education standards.
And, this is where our inward-focused education crowd in Frankfort just dropped out. While Kentucky nominally remains in the ADP “Network,” we actually went our own way, doing “independent” standards development outside of the ADP process. The inevitable result – while ADP states now have standards focused on what kids need for both college and entry-level jobs with a future, our standards are focused – who knows where.
So, once again, Kentucky’s educators are indeed in the lead – of advancing to the rear of true education reform that is focused on what our students really need.