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Kentucky Ed Chief Joins Push For Common Core Reassessment

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday became the latest state education higher-up to express skepticism on Common Core, announcing on Monday that the state will review the standards and accept public suggestions for changes.

Holliday, speaking on Monday at a high school in the small Lexington suburb of Versailles, announced the creation of a new website where citizens can go to review Common Core and make suggestions on how to change or improve it.

The website will accept submissions until April 30 2015. After that, suggestions pertaining to specific standards will be reviewed by a team of educators, who will make final recommendations for an update to Common Core.

Kentucky adopted Common Core in 2010 and has been incorporating the standards into its standardized tests since 2012. However, like many other states, the standards have been caught up in a rising tide of opposition from both the right and the left. Critics argue the standards put too much focus on standardized tests, undermine local curriculum control, or teach inappropriate material.

Holliday said that the reality of Common Core was being overshadowed by a wider political debate, and said he wanted to refocus attention on the actual content of the standards.

“Political opinions have taken control of the discussion about education standards,” Holliday said. “People are against the Common Core standards just because of the name and the federal intrusion that they think these standards represent.”

“We need to change the conversation from one of ‘us versus them’ to one of collaboration on tweaking the standards.”

Holliday said that despite inviting public comment he had no tolerance for cranks.

“Don’t tell us it’s a Communist conspiracy to take over education,” he said. “Tell us what’s wrong with the standards and how to fix it.”

By inviting a reconsideration of Common Core, Holliday is following in the footsteps of officials in several other states.. In Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert has created a website to accept public commentary on Common Core, while in Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal has criticized components of the standards as well.

Notably excluded from the new review, however, are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which Kentucky has adopted as well. NGSS is distinct from Common Core but has attracted a similar amount of controversy due to how it handles issues such as global warming.

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