Eddyville, KY

Opinion

State education planning to take 2 steps back

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - Updated: 6:39 PM

Kentucky lawmakers are considering a number of education changes that would be considered a leap forward if the state was a small village in Algeria.

Not long after going down the road of opting to bolster private coffers with public dollars through its pay-for-education efforts, lawmakers are considering bringing back cursive writing as part of an effort to review language arts and mathematics.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, "a bill filed by state Rep. Jill York, R- Grayson, that would require cursive writing to be taught in elementary schools stalled in the 2017 General Assembly" but the education department is including the requirement in standards released Monday.

"We are starting with English/language arts and mathematics because those are the foundations for other learning," Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said in a release. "...This is the only way we can ensure we are preparing our students for the jobs of the future and to compete with those from other states and nations."

Well, that's great.

While other nations are learning about math, Kentucky students will be spending valuable minutes on an archaic handwriting choice. Time spent on swooping letters could be better spent on learning what a quotient is.

Even more concerning is the reduced expectations on students.

Pruitt said going forward students will be required to show mastery of fewer concepts, but provide "more in-depth standards."

While it was printed plainly and not in cursive on the department's web site, the subtle statement is something employers, parents and students are weary of hearing. Students don't need less mastery and less challenge, they need more.

More hands on learning.

More interaction with what they're studying.

More access to learning materials (remember, it was just a few miles down the road where a school district glued together pages of science books because the superintendent didn't like what they taught).

Students need to be challenged more with bigger concepts, not doted on for overperforming at underwhelming expectations.

Lawmakers well versed in cursive should be able to read the writing on the wall: expecting less and teaching with a flare of the 1800s will only take Kentucky schools back to the bottom.

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