Common Core

What Does A Good Common Core Lesson Look Like?

Jun 4, 2014

As we're detailing this week, teachers and school leaders have a lot of work to do to adopt curricula aligned with the new Common Core State Standards.

In Kentucky, Moving Beyond Dependence On Tests

Jun 2, 2014

The white, split-rail fences of horse farms line the two-lane road that takes you southwest from Lexington. It's a beautiful half-hour drive to Danville, Ky.

Settled in 1783, the town is proud of its history. In Constitution Square, across Main Street from Burke's Bakery, sits a tiny log cabin that was once the first post office west of the Allegheny Mountains.

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Common Core standards have sustained a blow as one of the nation's largest teachers unions has withdrawn support for the math and english standards. Support for the Common Core in Kentucky is mixed.

American 15-year-olds continue to turn in flat results in a test that measures students' proficiency in reading, math and science worldwide, failing to crack the global top 20.

The Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. The latest results, from 2012, show that U.S. students ranked below average in math among the world's most-developed countries. They were close to average in science and reading.

Kentucky is among several states preparing to introduce new science standards in public schools. And, like many of the others, Kentucky has seen opposition to the standards from a vocal minority.

But the debate has been a bit more heated here and some have even called the state's adoption of the standards the most contentious in the country.

“Everybody is watching what everybody else is doing,” says Josh Rosenau, policy director at the National Center for Science Education.

Kentucky students are taking more advanced placement tests and scoring higher on those exams, according to data released this week.

This trend has continued since 2008 when the state began its Advanced Kentucky initiative that helps local school districts grow participation.

Advanced Kentucky trains teachers and helps students prevent the need for remediation courses once they reach college.


Common Core Standards and new science standards continue to prompt discussion in the Commonwealth as well as the nation, and Kentucky's Commissioner of Education Dr. Terry Holliday discusses these area of public concern. In the following interview with Kate Lochte, Dr. Holliday also addresses the status of the state's school districts raising the compulsory school attendance age to 18 as well as Kentucky's new eTranscript program for high school students.

Kentucky education officials' consideration of Next Generation Science Standards gained national attention last month when The Huffington Post and others picked up on criticism of evolution and climate change during a public hearings on the matter. 

Here's the latest:

The chair of the Kentucky Board of Education doesn’t expect the controversy over newly-adopted science standards to lead to a change in those standards before they're implemented.

The Next Generation Science Standards were developed by an independent consortium of 26 states, including Kentucky, and are part of Kentucky’s 2009 education reforms. They will update what students will be expected to learn in science.

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The University of Kentucky is partnering with two non-profit foundations to establish the National Center for Innovation in Education. With a focus on college and career readiness, the center will assist states in implementing the Common Core standards and helping students learn on a deeper level.