Kentucky teachers support Core Academic Standards

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Kentucky teachers, like those in a nationwide poll, are enthusiastic about teaching the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) according to data released by the Kentucky Department of Education.

The data stem from the Primary Sources survey of 20,000 public school teachers nationwide last summer. The survey, conducted by the Harrison Group, asked teachers across the country their thoughts on implementing the Common Core State Standards — a set of clear, consistent guidelines for what students should know and be able to do for success after graduation. Results of that survey showed:

  • 97 percent of teachers are aware of the new English/language arts and mathematics standards
  •  73 percent are enthusiastic about implementing the new standards in their classroom
  •  73 percent believe implementing the standards is or will be challenging
  • 74 percent believe implementing the standards will require them to make changes in their teaching practice
  • 73 percent felt they were prepared to teach the new standards in their classrooms
  • 76 percent believe the standards will have a positive impact on students’ ability to think critically and use reasoning skills

Several hundred Kentucky teachers voiced their opinions as part of the national survey. However, to gain a broader view of what Kentucky teachers think, the Kentucky Department of Education followed up with an online, anonymous, voluntary survey that was open from mid-November to mid-December. Questions focused on the Kentucky Core Academic Standards which include the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and mathematics as well as the Next-Generation Science Standards. More than 6,700 Kentucky teachers responded to the open survey. Results showed:

  • 93 percent of those who teach English/language arts are implementing the Kentucky Core Academic Standards in their classrooms
  • 93 percent of those who teach mathematics are implementing the Kentucky Core Academic Standards in their classroom
  • 49 percent of those who teach science have already started implementing the new science standards in their classrooms
  • 77 percent are enthusiastic about teaching the new standards in their classrooms
  • 78 percent believe implementing the new Kentucky Core Academic Standards has required or will require changes to their teaching practice
  • 86 percent feel they are prepared to teach new English/language arts and mathematics standards
  • 90 percent agree that the standards are more rigorous than previous standards
  • 67 percent believe the standards will have a positive impact on college/career-readiness of students; 25 percent don’t’ think it will be positive or negative; and only 8 percent think the standards will have a negative effect

To help the most students in their classroom meet the new Kentucky Core Academic Standards, teachers say that they need a variety of additional resources. Of those that responded to the survey:

  • 60 percent need aligned instructional materials
  • 56 percent need student-centered technology
  • 54 percent they need formative assessments
  • 52 percent need summative assessments
  • 45 percent need new curricula
  • 37 percent need additional professional development on the new standards

Kentucky Education Association president Stephanie Winkler is not surprised by the results. The feedback she’s gotten from superintendents and teachers is also largely positive.

“I, as a classroom teacher who just left in May, know that the standards not only made me a more focused teacher, but I saw the benefit to my students,” Winkler said. “Kids are able to master concepts and think critically to apply their knowledge, so when they go onto the next level, they’re more prepared.”

“Anybody who would say that we need to get rid of the common core standards in Kentucky has not been in the classroom and worked with them like the teachers have,” Winkler said. “What we really need is resources to support professional learning and aligned instructional materials and textbooks that support the standards’ implementation.”

Since the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1 in 2009 and it became law, teachers, administrators, school boards, professors and postsecondary leaders, education professional associations, education advocacy groups, parent groups and business organizations have been working diligently to implement its provisions, including creating and implementing the new, more rigorous academic standards. New English/language arts standards are being taught for the third year; new science standards will be implemented in the fall. New arts and humanities and social studies standards will follow in the future.

“Local school boards have the authority to go above and beyond these standards at any time; they represent the minimum of what students should know and be able to do,” Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said. “Already, districts choose and local boards of education approve the curriculum their teachers use, so districts retain local control with the new standards.”

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