Correcting the Record: Potential Kentucky Review of the Common Core Conflated with Repeal

An Associated Press article asserts that legislation introduced in the Kentucky Senate seeks to “dismantle” the state’s Common Core Standards. State Senate Education Committee Chairman Mike Wilson says the bill will be a top priority for lawmakers because the current system has created a “quagmire of instructional compliance rather than results.”

But a close read of the legislation indicates the aim is not repeal, as the article suggests, but instead to establish a review process to refine and build on the standards further—just as several states have already done.

The bill would establish a regular review process for Kentucky’s academic standards and their alignment to state assessments. The process would be led by four advisory committees and include a public review period, and recommendations would be presented to a nine-member panel appointed by the Governor and state House and Senate.

Common Core State Standards set a floor for student expectations, not a ceiling. The standards were designed with the intention of states customizing them in order to meet state-specific student needs. Many states have done just that. Florida, for example, has rebranded the standards and added requirements. In that way, the legislation in Kentucky mirrors what other states are doing—and aligns with the original intention of the Common Core.

Kentucky lawmakers should be hesitant to pursue full-scale repeal. Oklahoma, the only state to adopt the standards and later replace them with a substantively different set of standards, offers a cautionary lesson about the perils of replacing the standards under political pressure. As a Collaborative for Student Success white paper explains:

“For leaders still considering the future of high, consistent academic standards and related assessments in their states, Oklahoma should serve as a cautionary tale. While other states are working to provide parents and teachers with better tools to measure student development toward college- and career-readiness, the future for Oklahoma’s academic standards—and its students—is less certain.”