You may have heard about the Governor’s Executive Order to remove Common Core from the Florida Standards earlier this year. This order led the FL Department of Education on a path with a very aggressive timeline, to complete a full revision within one year.
What is Common Core?
Common Core is a set of Standards that dictate the knowledge, skills and abilities that students must possess after completing each grade level. The Standards were created by National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and adopted by Florida in 2010.
In 2014, after parents, teachers, and other developmental experts around the state started questioning the developmental appropriateness of the Standards, a minor revision and re-brand to “Florida Standards” took place. Read more about the history and creation of the Standards here.
Up until 2015, states were coerced into using Common Core by federal law and incentives. However, those pieces were removed with the passage of the federal ESSA law in 2015 (which replaced No Child Left Behind). This opened the door for more authentic, appropriate and meaningful Standards to direct what our children learn.
What exactly do the Standards do?
As noted in the presentation from the FL DOE, Standards are the building blocks by which all curriculum, instruction and assessments are based. In other words, if the Standards aren’t correct, we can’t expect any of those other things to be correct either. Everything starts with the Standards.
The Standards dictate what our children learn, and when. While they do not dictate the specific materials used, those materials are required to follow the Standards, and in some cases the Standards do dictate methods (for example, the third grade math Standards). If your child is struggling with the instructional materials or methods, there’s a good chance the Standards are at the core of the issue.
The Standards are also partly responsible for the push for schools to use more technology in the classroom (even in the early grades, when it often does more harm than good).
2019 Standards Review
The state began soliciting public input to assist with their review in April. A second draft of the Standards was made public in September. Many stakeholders provided feedback about their concerns, and some of that feedback was taken into account in the second draft. However, there are still some changes needed.
At least one pro-common core group has hired a public relations firm to encourage people who are in favor of keeping Common Core to speak up during the review. It’s too bad the people who are impacted directly by these Standards don’t have the budget to do that! That’s why we need to make sure our voices are heard.
It’s not too late to speak up!
The final draft of the Standards will be provided to the Commissioner in November. If you haven’t done so yet, please provide your input by the end of October! You can provide specific input on the second draft here. You can also send general comments here. The more specific your comments, the better. However, even just sharing your story about how the Standards have impacted your child (including the grade and the subject), is helpful.
Don’t let this opportunity to improve the instructional quality of public schools pass you by. Now is the time to get involved!