JCPS creates Raisethebarlouisville.org website to ease public angst over Common Core test scores

As we reported in late September, state and local school officials are scrambling to institute yet another academics standards/standardized testing methodology while at the same time explaining why your child scored so miserably on the new tests.

Jefferson County Public Schools officials have adopted both Common Core Standards in English/language arts and mathematics, as well as the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress, or KPREP. (In 2014, Kentucky will add science and social studies Common Core Standards.)

To ease the transition, JCPS has created Raisethebarlouisville.org, which is billed as a “communitywide effort to educate our citizens about the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS).”

Kentucky was the first state to adopt these tougher academic standards, nationally known as Common Core.

“The more rigorous standards are designed to get students prepared for both college and careers and will help Kentucky compete in the global marketplace,” according to an email that went out to parents.

The website includes pages explaining Common Core rationale, the scoring methods and what parents can do to help students adapt.

The site provides information about the state standards, the new tests, and the new scores, and it gives parents helpful hints about how they can give their kids a little nudge toward score well and preserving those administrator bonuses!

It also includes a slickly produced video with a voice-over by none other than William Braford II, the retired drama teacher/director from Youth Performing Arts School and Trinity High School.

Billy’s melaflous voice takes parents through Kentucky’s endless education shortcomings, then he asks, “Do we assign blame, or solve it?”

JCPS has joined the movement to institute a national measure of rigorous standards, according to the video, as opposed to the old system in which 50 states used 50 essentially meaningless measures of how well students are doing.

The idea is, kids will come out of JCPS ready for college classes rather than for a round of remedial classes just to get up to speed if they go off to Harvard or even to Indiana University, which is ranked far higher than any of Kentucky’s public colleges.

“This isn’t a new fad,” Billy intones. “This is a new era in education.”

Which we seem to recall hearing before.

What we know for certain is, Kentucky falls far behind – not just behind states such as Massachusetts (take a bow, Gov. Romney), but behind global education leaders such as Singapore, Finland and Japan.

The video goes way out of the way to prepare parents for the fact that Kentucky is a national and global laggard.

“Be forewarned: There will be some shock and confusion when parents recieve scores in the mail,” says Mr. B.

But since the Pritchard Committee was formed in 1980, we’ve been hearing that if Kentucky will only adopt this standard or that core curriculum, everything will be better.

And yet we remain No. 48.

Fittingly, the logo for Raisethebarlouisville.org shows a child streching for that bar, which remains perpetually out of reach.

Here are the expected performance drops per a post on the Kentucky School Board Association website:

Reading Proficiency:

Elementary: 76 percent in 2011, could fall 36 percent

 Middle: 70 percent, may decline by 30 percent

 High: 65 percent, could drop by 25 percent

 Math Proficiency:

 Elementary: 73 percent, may fall 37 percent

Middle: 65 percent, down possibly 29 percent

 High: 46 percent, could decline 10 percent