studentsThe Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge is still on. Terry Holliday, our Commissioner of Education, on behalf of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and in cooperation with a number of education advocacy groups across the state, originally issued this challenge on August 25, 2014. It will stay open until April 30, 2015.

Kentucky became the very first state to adopt these standards in 2010. Even in the initial creation and subsequent adoption of them, stakeholders such as teachers and administrators were given the opportunity to give input. Now, with 4-5 years of implementation under our belts, we are given the opportunity to perfect the Standards through this Challenge.

Many states that have also adopted the Common Core State Standards—43 to be exact—are just beginning implementation. There is a myriad of both positive and negative publicity surrounding the Standards. And when one reads some of these stories, parent concerns are heightened. We wonder if our kids are getting the best possible education that will lead them towards a successful future wherever that might be: practicing a skilled craft or trade, following a life of academia, competing against a world market, etc.—we want them to be better off than we were.

These Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are not perfect. I find it refreshing to know that they can be seen as a work-in-progress. And Dr. Holliday is giving ALL of us an opportunity to not only STUDY each of these standards, but to give real, specific suggestions on WHAT to change. If you think a standard belongs in a different grade level, make that suggestion. If your analysis leads you to suggest that a certain standard isn’t rigorous enough, suggest HOW it can be more rigorous. If the wording on a certain standard doesn’t make sense or is confusing, suggest how it can be more user-friendly.

Again, we applaud KDE and the educational advocacy groups for challenging Kentucky parents, students, educators, and anyone interested in the education of our children to become more aware of these Common Core State Standards. For those of us who choose to accept the challenge with specific ideas and suggestions, our children will reap the benefits of being in the best state to grow and learn.