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Bill to Revamp Kentucky Academic Standards Review Goes to Full Senate

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LRC Public Information
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Legislation to revamp how academic standards are set in public elementary, middle, and high schools is headed to the Kentucky Senate. The measure is one of this year’s top priorities for senate republicans. 

The lengthy bill calls for academic reviews every six years in English, math, science, and social studies. The push for Senate Bill 1 comes on the heels of passage of a new federal law that governs national education policy for K-12. Louisville Senator Gerald Neal suggested more study before state action. “Is it not somewhat premature because we don’t know the nuances of this thing?" Asked Neal. “It’s like we’re going out there again and let’s see how this works again.”

Bill Sponsor Mike Wilson says the timing is right with a new governor, education commissioner, and federal law. “We had a math teacher just last week, said I can’t take it anymore. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t fill out all these reports and do lesson plans. I just can’t do it anymore,” Wilson said.

The measure passed along partisan lines. Wilson says current student testing doesn’t align with academic standards. “So you have teachers teaching two curricula because the tests aren’t lining up with the standards, so they’re having to teach what’s on the test and they’re also having to teach the standards and then at the same time, they have to fill out these burdensome program reviews,” explained Wilson.

A large group of spectators attended the senate committee meeting. Among them was former Kentucky Education Association President Jon Henrickson. “We’ve changed it and we’re now gonna have new federal regulations," Henrickson said. "And I think it’s something we want to consider pretty carefully before we do something here in the state.”

Wilson says the intent of the bill is to allow teachers to teach. The measure now heads to the senate floor.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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