Kentucky Teachers Show Little Progress Under Common Core

A new report by the National Council on Teacher Quality has claimed that the state of Kentucky has failed to show considerable improvements in the two years since it implemented Common Core standards.

Elementary school teachers in the state are not even ready to begin implementing the new lessons required by Common Core, the report claims.

The report states:

“Although Kentucky has adopted the Common Core Standards, the state does not ensure that its elementary teachers candidates are adequately prepared to teach the rigorous content associated with these standards.”

With an overall grade of D+, Kentucky is ranked an unimpressive 41st in teacher quality nationwide, writes Janet Cappiello at the Associated Press.

It is thought that the state’s requirements for special education teachers – which asks only for general certification – has had a marked effect on the state’s score.

“Failure to ensure that teachers possess requisite content knowledge deprives special education students of the opportunity to reach their academic potential,” the report said.

Common Core State Standards are designed to ensure a uniform public K-12 education from state-to-state. Kentucky was one of the first states to sign up the states and the 2011-2012 school year has been one of transition for its 1,221 public schools as some of the new coursework has begun to be implemented.

However, the report has been highly critical of the early measures set out by Kentucky. Phillip Rogers, executive director of the state’s Education Professional Standards Board, said recommendations made in the report will be seriously considered.

“While we don’t agree with everything, we’re not going to just dismiss it,” he said.

Previous recommendations have led to more stringent tests for elementary teachers. These measures will be implemented next fall.

The report criticized the state’s base requirements for elementary school teachers. It said that in only expecting elementary teachers to know general physical science, earth science, biology/life science, geography and music, the teachers are not fully prepared to actually teach reading or mathematics.

It wasn’t all gloom for the state, however. It scored higher marks for the preparation of middle school and high school teachers.

“Kentucky is commended for ensuring that middle school teachers are sufficiently prepared to teach middle school-level content,” the report said.

A loophole that could allow high school social studies teachers to skirt subject-specific licensing by letting them take a general test was identified.

“… Candidates could answer many history questions, for example, incorrectly, yet still be licensed to teach history to high school students,” the report states.

Overall, the state may be slow to see results since its adoption of Common Core standards, but officials are pleased with Kentucky’s high ranking in student teaching programs.