THREE GIANT STEPS FOR KENTUCKY EDUCATION
AUGUST 2010 OVERVIEW OF KEY DEVELOPMENTS
FROM THE PRICHARD COMMITTEE FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
SENATE BILL 1Senate Bill 1, passed in 2009, requires Kentucky to upgrade its standards for what students will learn. Our new law says the standards must be shorter, clearer, and better focused on students being ready for college, work, and global competition. To match the new standards, Kentucky will use new tests starting in the spring of 2012. Current teachers will receive specialized training on how to teach the new standards well, and teacher preparation programs will equip future teachers with the same skills.
COMMON CORE STANDARDS SHARED BY MANY STATES
For language arts and mathematics, Kentucky has joined with many other states in adopting the Common Core State Standards. Nationally respected experts drafted the standards, using learning research and information on how each subject is taught in the countries with the world’s highest academic results. Then they gathered comments from state leaders, local educators, and the general public have been gathered, and revised the work several times before issuing the final edition in June.
Similar multi-state work is planned on additional subjects, including science and history.
Because of Senate Bill 1, we expect to be ahead of most states in preparing current and future teachers to implement the standards. In the future, Kentucky and other states will be able to collaborate on developing tests, textbooks, technology, and professional development that match the standards and help students develop the knowledge and skills they will need for college and career success.
THE FEDERAL RACE TO THE TOP COMPETITIONNearly all states are now competing to win Race to the Top grants from the United States Department of Education. The winning states will share $4 billion in funding to implement their plans to make their school systems among the best in the world. The plans must address:
• Standards, including classroom implementation and good tests to check student progress.
• Data systems to help teachers identify student needs and effective learning strategies.
• Evaluation and support systems to strengthen teachers and school leaders.
• Major changes to schools that repeatedly fail to deliver acceptable student performance.
Since Kentucky is already committed to Senate Bill 1 and the Common Core, the Race to the Top competition is an opportunity to get the funding we need to implement those changes quickly and well. In the first round of the competition, Kentucky was one of the finalists, but did not receive an award. In the second round, we have applied for $175 million to be spent over five years, with half of the funding going to school districts for local work and half being used at the state level, and we are finalists again. The second round winners will be announced in the fall of 2010.