Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order this week to eliminate Common Core from schools in the state.
He cited frustrated parents and testing as reasons for the order.
"Let's get this right," said Gov. DeSantis "We want high quality, we want to demand excellence."
Common Core is a set of academic standards in mathematics and arts/literacy that outline what students should know at the end of each grade. Some parents argued the guidelines were too rigid and required too much testing for students.
Now local school districts are reacting to the decision. We reached out to all the counties in the Tampa Bay area to hear what they think about the executive order:
"I commend the governor for taking bold stands and staying true to his promises. I completely support streamlining standardized testing, increasing civics education, and improving literacy.
However, I ask Governor DeSantis and Education Commissioner Corcoran to consider the amount of time, funding, and effort teachers, administrators, and school districts have invested in professional learning, curriculum, materials, and resources that align with our current standards. I understand that parents have had difficulty grasping some of the standards, and there may be a need to adjust some of them. My concern is that we not lose ground in the progress we have made toward ensuring our students are prepared for the demands of college and the workforce.We look forward to working with our state leaders to assure that the development of new K-12 standards is deliberate and focused on preparing all students for success in college, career, and life."
On Friday, ABC Action News spoke one on one with Superintendent Kurt Browning. He knows how much it has taken to get this far under the current standard. He said it has cost school districts hundreds of millions of dollars in professional learning.
"We're finally getting it and now we're going to have to change this....the way we think (and) the way we teach and what we teach," Browning said.
Browning stated it has been a heavy lift to get teachers to change the way they think and how they teach. He said they have to start over again.
He said he does not have a problem with reviewing the current standard, but he hopes everything that has been invested like time, training, and money will not be lost.
"I want to be part of the solution. I don't want to be a naysayer, but (I) also want to provide a voice of reason and say, you know, let's not throw everything out that we've done because we've seen great results with that," he said.
“I welcome the governor’s decision and look forward to working with the Florida Department of Education on the implementation of new state curriculum standards for our students,” said Jacqueline Byrd, Superintendent of Polk County Public Schools. “My hope is that these new standards will better prepare our youth for their careers and lives beyond the classroom. My biggest concern is that teachers are given enough time and resources for professional development so they can effectively teach these new standards to students.”
“I commend Governor DeSantis for reassessing curriculum standards in our state,” noted Todd Bowden, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “It’s healthy to review these standards on an on-going basis to determine what subject areas are most important for our students to learn. As our society changes, so should the standards that we work toward. I also call for the Governor to review assessments which are based on these standards – not only the testing of our students, but how their outcomes affect teacher evaluations as well. With performance pay mandated by the state on student assessments, I am hopeful teachers will play a key role in developing the new standards and how assessments are utilized.”
“As Superintendent, I feel it’s always a good idea to look at current systems in place to see if there’s a better and more efficient process, especially when it comes to the success of our students. No matter what, our teachers here in Citrus will continue to engage and mold students to their fullest potential.
Once Commissioner Corcoran listens to all stakeholders involved, I will be eager to see the new plan once it goes to the Florida Legislature. Our educators here in Citrus will be ready to accommodate any new state mandates that may come our way.”
Florida PTA is committed to ensuring all children receive a high quality education aligned to benchmarked standards, providing clear expectations of the skills students need for success in college and/or career.
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), adopted by Florida in 2010, was a joint effort led by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers from 48 states to develop a common core of K-12 standards in English language arts and Mathematics. The goal of this initiative was to create internationally-benchmarked standards that ensure all students are held to consistent expectations that prepare them for college and career, regardless of where they lived. The standards were informed by the best state standards at that time, feedback from teachers, content experts, the business community, higher education, parents and the public.
In 2014, Florida updated the standards to include calculus and cursive writing as well as making other changes, and re-named them the Florida Standards. With each change to the standards comes a need to re-write and re-purchase assessments which are used to ensure students' mastery of skills. The need for assessments for certain subject areas and at different grade levels are written in statute, which can be changed by the legislature.
Whichever standards Florida uses, the goal should be the same: to ensure that every child graduates high school ready for college or career. Academic standards set a goal for what a child should know and be able to do at the end of each grade level, but higher standards cannot stand alone. Quality implementation of new standards will require aligning new curriculum and assessments, providing professional development for teachers, providing sufficient resources and support for students, ongoing communication with parents and balanced and comprehensive accountability systems.
We look forward to working with Governor DeSantis, Commissioner Corcoran, and other stakeholders to ensure parents and educators are given an active role in the process of developing new standards that are fully vetted to support student achievement.
We have also reached out to Pinellas, Manatee, and Hernando counties for statements, but have not heard back from them yet. According to the executive order, the commissioner of education has to give the governor his recommendations with your input by Jan. 1, 2020.