DeSantis​ announces executive order to eliminate, replace Common Core in education

Gov. Ron DeSantis​ announced an executive order at a press conference at Ida S. Baker High School in Cape Coral​ Thursday to eliminate Common Core in the state.

DeSantis said he heard a lot of frustration while on the campaign trail with ‘Florida Standards’, a version of Common Core in the state.

Common Core State Standards are a result of an initiative sponsored in 2010 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers which set uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math.

The standards were developed by a coalition of state leaders and establish what students should know from one grade to the next. They’re designed to ensure all students are college-ready by the time they graduate.

They were adopted by Florida, 44 other states and the District of Columbia.

Florida made changes in 2014 to the Common Core standards and renamed them “Florida Standards.”

“When you complained about Common Core, I hear ya,” DeSantis said. “I told you I’d do something about it.”

The executive order will require Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran to provide a roadmap for “authentic Florida based standards,” DeSantis said.

He said there needs to be innovative ways to measure success and “not just teaching to a test.”

DeSantis put an emphasis on making civics education a priority in Florida.

Commissioner Corcoran said, “We have the boldest number one education governor in the entire United States of America.”

DeSantis says Corcoran will work with educators and the public across the state over the next year on these changes and present them to lawmakers in 2020.

What is Common Core?

What is the Common Core?  A national set of educational standards, the Common Core had been adopted in 45 states, including Florida. The Common Core strives to create a uniform playing field for all kids and an evidence-based, robust learning system in every grade, with the end goal of college and career success in clear and attainable sight. With the Standards, children know what they are required to learn in each grade. While specific to English language arts/literacy and math, the Standards permeate all of the subjects being taught in school with a new, evidence-based approach to acquiring knowledge and explaining answers.

How will the Common Core change the classroom? While not without its critics, the Common Core is ushering in a new, exciting and robust form of learning, heralded by many teachers, educators and parents. Throughout all areas of study, kids are now propelled to raise the bar on why they find a certain answer to be so. Students are required to find evidence, often within their textbooks and rote recitation of facts, and spoon-feeding from teachers trying to dumb down the work is no longer widespread. Urged to dig deeper, students will find themselves interacting with subject matter at an enhanced level, allowing for long-term retention of information and an enhanced ability to utilize analytical thinking throughout multiple areas of their lives.

Mathematics – So what does this mean to math, a subject already capable of striking fear in the hearts of students? Mathematics teachers will base their lesson plans on three primary instructional shifts called rigor, focus and coherence. They’ll do this in order to increase their student’s understanding of underlying mathematical concepts as well as increase their skill and ability to apply what they have learned across multiple types of problem solving.

English Language Arts/Literacy – An increased focus on reading and acquiring evidence from nonfiction and informational textbooks, coupled with the need to study complexly-written text and acquire an understanding of academic vocabulary, are geared towards helping students acquire college-level skills. Students will still read a significant amount of literary work, but at least 50 percent of what is being studied in classes, such as social studies and art, will now be informational in nature. In essence, students will be expected to acquire knowledge they can use across multiple disciplines from their textbooks, rather than parroting back what they read within a narrow context. Class discussion will also change, with the goal being that students acquire the skill to make evidentiary arguments, both in writing and via the spoken word.

How will the Common Core affect tests? – As a measure of accountability, both for students and for schools, testing under the Common Core will be more challenging and for some, might produce temporarily dropped scores and possibly the need for summer school. Parents are strongly encouraged to talk to their children’s teachers for individualized guidance on how to best support their own child and alleviate the added stress this might cause. Sample tests are available for each grade and can be downloaded by families here.

Will kids be working harder or smarter? – We’ve all heard the old adage work smart, not hard, but this ideology does not jive with the Common Core. The Standards require kids not choose between the two, but rather acquire the benefits of working both hard and smart, without looking for shortcuts or easy fixes. If the Common Core lives up to its promise, this next generation of American kids will reap the benefits, becoming knowledgeable leaders able to compete on the world stage and prosper in multiple areas of their lives.

Writer:Derrick Shaw
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