Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Scholastic recently released some early results from the third edition of Primary Sources, a survey of more than 20,000 teachers across the nation. The early release highlighted three major findings concerning teachers’ views on the Common Core State Standards, which in Kentucky are called the Kentucky Core Academic Standards. Here are the key findings.

Awareness – Teachers’ awareness of the Common Core State Standards is now universal. Approximately 97 percent of teachers surveyed were aware of the Common Core State Standards.

Impact – Teachers expect the Common Core to enhance students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skills. This is especially true of teachers who have the most experience with standards including math and English/language arts teachers, and those who teach elementary grades.

Implementation – Teachers are enthusiastic about implementation. At the same time, teachers share the realistic view that implementation is going to be challenging and have concerns for specific student populations, but are able to point to supports and resources needed to help these students.

I really enjoyed reading a few of the quotes from teachers:

“I think it’s about time that we implement the Common Core State Standards. It’ll give consistency district to district. We should have done this years ago.”

“It’s going to be a huge mind shift for both students and teachers. With Common Core, we need to allow for exploration so students can learn more ‘why’ now.”

“I feel strongly that the Common Core State Standards will do wonders for education. For the first time in a long time, I think education is getting back on track.”

With all the political gamesmanship over the Common Core State Standards, it is essential that we listen to our teachers. So, I have asked staff to survey Kentucky teachers with questions similar to those in Primary Sources. I believe the results will be even more positive from Kentucky teachers because they have been working to implement the standards since 2010. Once we have the response back from our teachers, we will provide this information to the House and Senate Education members and hope that they listen to teachers rather than special interest groups who are spreading misinformation about the Common Core State Standards.

Also, this week I read an article that reported the Common Core State Standards have strong support from the military. Military children will relocate at least twice during their school careers and having common standards across states will allow them to continue their education with the least amount of disruption. In addition, common standards will help Department of Defense Schools raise educational expectations, and improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Kentucky is home to two military bases – Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. Both bases work closely with local school districts. By using common standards across states, those children who move into Kentucky from other states will have an easier transition.