FRANKFORT, Ky. – A bill introduced in the Kentucky state house would ban the state from continuing its participation in the Common Core educational standards and penalize districts that continue them.

House Bill 33 (HB33), originally prefiled by State Rep. Thomas Kerr (R-Taylor Mill), would represent a sharp turnaround for Kentucky should it pass into law. In 2010, the state was the first in the country to adopt the Core. And Gov. Steve Beshear decided in 2013 to implement the science standards even though a legislative review subcommittee rejected them.

Specifically, HB33 would prohibit the Kentucky Board of Education and Department of Education from doing three things:

* Implement the academic content standards for English language arts and mathematics developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative and copyrighted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers

* Implement the science standards developed by the Next Generation Science Standards Initiative led by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences

* Use the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for Colleges and Careers, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or any other assessment based on the Common Core Standards or Next Generation Science Standards.

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A three-year report on Common Core tests in Kentucky was released in early October, and while supporters of the national education program were touting them as successful, some digging shows that this might not be the case.

Overall score averages increased in younger students, while high school students were mostly stagnant, or in Mathematics, even slightly worse.  Also, one of the performance results originally touted would be a reduction in the performance gap between those of higher and lower economic classes, and the gap between racial groups.  But after three years, the gap isn’t getting smaller.  Only 33.8 perfect of black students scored proficient in reading. And 38.3 percent of low-income students scored proficient on elementary math tests.

“Common Core takes the control of local schools out of the teachers and parents that are involved with the children and their education,” said Rep. Diane St. Onge, R-Lakeside Park, a co-sponsor of Kerr’s bill last legislative session.

While touted as a state initiative, the federal government is deeply involved in both the formulation and implementation of Common Core, primarily through stimulus funding. The end result is that when you follow the money, it becomes clear that Common Core is a national program.

Constitutionally, the federal government should not be involved in education at all.

With a democratic-controlled house, some supporters believe the issue will be difficult to move forward, but strong opposition to Common Core from progressives and teacher’s unions in states like New York show that a coalition across the political spectrum can happen.

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The first step for HB33 will be a committee assignment for the bill.  The committee will first need to pass the bill before the full house can vote on it.

Authored by Michael Boldin

Published with permission