Op-Ed

Ky, Voices: Support tougher academic standards

Kentuckians will soon be seeing the first results from the state tests on our new, more challenging academic standards.

Educators across the commonwealth are in their second school year of helping students master the standards as they focus on preparing every student to succeed in college, career training or the workplace.

State education officials and advocates have been talking for months about the possibility that the test scores will be lower — or appear to be lower — than what we have seen in the past. Several factors could contribute to lower scores: more challenging work, transitioning to a new test, different ways of scoring, and others.

Even if the predictions are true, and scores do go down this year, it is critical that all Kentuckians — parents, teachers, employers, policy leaders and elected officials — continue to support the tougher learning standards, and the students, educators and schools that are helping build a stronger future for our state.

These standards are designed to prepare students for college, career training and good-paying jobs — the ones that require high-level skills, critical thinking, working cooperatively and creative problem solving. Internationally benchmarked, they will improve Kentuckians' prospects for success as global competition continues to become more a part of our everyday lives. And they will give today's students a stronger start on a successful life.

As employers representing all parts of Kentucky, we know how important it is for every student to receive the highest-quality education. We also know that the business community has an important role to play in supporting our schools, teachers and students. That's why we have come together to speak with a strong employer voice on behalf of educational excellence.

As with anything meaningful, significant progress won't happen overnight. But we are confident that it will happen if Kentucky holds firm to its commitment, as reflected in the challenging academic standards, to prepare all of our students for success in college, career and life.

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