Putting Education Reform To The Test

Three Quotes About Florida’s New Common Core Education Standards

Mike Leavenworth / Flickr

When the sniping against new state education standards begins, Florida's business leaders were told not to abandon their foxholes.

The Florida Council of 100 held a summit Wednesday in Orlando to discuss Florida’s transition to new education requirements known as Common Core State Standards.

Advocates say the standards focus on deeper knowledge of fewer subjects, and not only ask students what they know but to prove how they know it.

But there is growing resistance to Common Core across the country. And Florida leaders are drafting a “Plan B” in case a new standardized test is not ready by the fall 2014 deadline.

Here’s a few choice quotes from the event, with some added context.

“Don’t disappear into the bushes when the bullets start flying.” — lobbyist and former education commissioner Jim Horne.

Educators are concerned support for Common Core standards might waver when the first round of test scores starts coming in. The standards are intended to be more challenging, and fewer students are expected to pass the next standardized test.

Part of Wednesday’s event was to prepare the business community to stand up to the outcry that might follow the new standards.

“The Legislature has the heavy lift…Kids deserve a year’s worth of instruction on the devices before they have to take the test on the device.” — Mary Laura Bragg, national policy director of state policy implementation at the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

Bragg is referencing the budget tug-of-war between Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Department of Education. Scott has asked for $2,500 for teacher raises. The state agency has asked for a similar amount to upgrade school Internet and technology, in preparation for the computerized Common Core exam.

There probably isn’t enough money to do both, so the question is what will the Florida Legislature make the priority? Bragg works for the influential education foundation started by former Gov. Jeb Bush, and her comments make their priority clear.

“The people who are putting Common Core together asked teachers what they thought was needed…Common Core will give teachers the opportunity to have fun at teaching again.” — Florida Education Association president Andy Ford.

The head of Florida’s largest teacher’s union noted that many Florida teachers had a role in crafting the Common Core State Standards. This is one state policy where lawmakers and the teacher’s union leadership have found some common ground.


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