WKMS, the NPR station at Murray State University, posted “Kentucky Education Commissioner Weighs In on Next Generation Science Standards” yesterday. This article helps torpedo the myth of local control over school curriculum in Kentucky.
In the article – which deals with outcomes from the Next Generation Science Standards that Kentucky’s governor adopted despite a negative vote from a legislative committee – Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education asserts that both evolution and man-made climate change will be taught to our students. He also asserts both will be taught as theory.
Did you get that? The commissioner is telling us what is going to be taught in every classroom. How does that square with the old KERA myth that curriculum is locally controlled by each school’s site base council?
The truth is this situation undermines the myth that the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards are only standards, somehow divorced from the curriculum that mythologists tell us teachers still control.
The truth is that in a standards-based system, the standards are the focus and driving factor for everything else in the education program.
For sure, standards absolutely drive the state assessments. And, the state-level education establishment, not local schools, selects those standards.
As a consequence, teachers have no choice but to teach what is in those assessments and the underlying standards.
So much for the myth left over from KERA that local site base councils control curriculum. If the commissioner of education can tell you that evolution and climate change absolutely will be taught in your school – and assert that they will be taught as theory, not fact – it is clear that local school boards, local site base councils and parents have lost control of their public schools.