Let’s Set the Record Straight on Student Performance in Kentucky

Asserting that Kentucky’s African American students haven’t fared as well under Common Core as their white peers, American Principles Project’s Jane Robbins argues that, “Kentucky was the first state in the union to adopt Common Core and to get it rolling, and to get it implemented. And evidence so far seems to be that black students are faring worse under Common Core than white students are.”

Data show, however, that this is patently false.

Over a four year period (2012 – 2015), Kentucky’s African American 5th graders have seen an 11% increase in scores. White students experienced only a slightly stronger increase at 12%. So while gaps in achievement have not closed yet between the state’s African American and white students, both groups have seen increases in student performance.

The civil rights community has repeatedly asserted its support for the Common Core State Standards as a way to address inequities in the education system. The National Urban League’s Marc Morial wrote previously that “Common Core will not address every concern about our educational system, but its equitable implementation will help pave the way to ensuring that all children have a fair shot at a high-quality education.”

5th grade data

And parents of color agree with Morial.  Despite any misgivings, parents of color have repeatedly and overwhelmingly expressed their support for the Common Core State Standards. Large percentages of both African Americans and Hispanics surveyed by Education Next – 50 and 58 percent, respectively – support the standards.

Parents of color support high, consistent standards and the assessments aligned to measure their students’ progress toward those goals. Communities of color value the information provided by the assessments and know that comparable standards provide their community schools with important information to help close gaps in achievement that separate students of color and their white peers.