Governor Beshear touts common core standards in education

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's first-in the-nation acceptance
of common core standards in education ranks as a "defining step"
in its efforts to develop world-class schools, Gov. Steve Beshear
told a conference on Tuesday.

Those standards are benchmarks designed to ensure a uniform
public K-12 education from state to state. Coursework using the new
standards began to be implemented this year in Kentucky's public
schools.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the standards. In doing
so, the state will "move us closer toward positioning our children
for success" in college and in their careers, the Democratic
governor said. "It was a defining step in our ongoing effort ...
to build a world-class education system for our people."

His remarks came at a conference looking at how Kentucky is
using the standards in its public schools to prepare students for
college. Hundreds of educators from across the country are
attending the three-day event.

Since Kentucky's acceptance of the standards, the vast majority
of states have followed in adopting them.

"We must learn from each other and we must support this work
because the stakes are unbelievably high," Beshear said.

In Kentucky, weaving the new standards into coursework is part
of a remake of the public education system, driven by the 2009
passage of Senate Bill 1. It mandated that every Kentucky public
school student graduate be prepared for higher education or a
career.

Earlier this month, Kentucky took another leap in education as
one of the initial 10 states granted a waiver from the Bush-era No
Child Left Behind education law.

The waiver means Kentucky can use a new system it has developed
to determine progress in schools without also being held to a
federal standard that would label entire schools as failing if one
subgroup of students did not score high enough in reading and math
tests.

Meanwhile, the state said Tuesday that Kentucky's 8th and 10th
graders showed slight improvement last year on tests looking at
their progress toward college.

The Kentucky Department of Education released the scores for the
EXPLORE and PLAN tests taken in 2011 by tens of thousands of public school students in the state.

The two tests measure English, math, reading and science.
Between 2010 and 2011, scores either remained the same or showed incremental increases, the department's figures show.

The figures show at least 60 percent of the 8th and 10th graders
met goals in English but students are struggling to reach the
benchmarks in math, reading and science.
---
Associated Press writer Janet Cappiello in Louisville
contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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