The Florida Department of Education held two public conference calls today to answer questions about changes the agency proposed to Florida’s K-12 language arts and math standards.
Florida is one of 45 states to adopt the Common Core State Standards, which outline what students should know at the end of each grade. The common standards mean states using the same standardized test will be able to compare results.
Many of the conference call questions focused on copyright issues and the so-called “15 percent” rule for adding changes to the standards.
Why does that matter? Because it speaks to whether the state actually controls the education standards. Critics worry adopting Common Core will mean Florida has less control over classroom material.
Our friends at StateImpact Indiana looked at this issue last year. Here’s the short answer, according to Achieve, a non-profit which helped develop the standards.
“States can do whatever they want and always have been able to,” writes Chad Colby in an email to StateImpact. “There is no limit to what changes, additions or subtractions a state wants to make.”
Colby says as a rule of thumb, states are encouraged to add no more than 15 percent to the standards. Otherwise, he says it would negate the “commonness” of the standards.
As for the copyright, the Common Core State Standards are held under a public license that gives states who fully adopt the standards broad permission to use and reprint them. Colby says the main reason for copyrighting the standards was to protect the rights of the states who developed them. He says it also helps protects against charges that the federal government had a hand in writing the Common Core.
“The copyright proves that the federal government does not own nor control the standards,” writes Colby.
For their part, Mary Jane Tappen with the Florida Department of Education said the state was not bound to the Common Core copyright.
“We adopt our own standards,” she told a caller. “Florida owns its own standards.”
StateImpact is answering reader-submitted questions about the Common Core, a new set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level. Florida is one of 45 states that have fully adopted the Common Core.