Putting Education Reform To The Test

Despite Changes, Florida Still Keeping The Core of Common Standards

Gov. Rick Scott wants you to believe that additions proposed this week will mean big changes to the Common Core State Standards Florida adopted along with 44 other states.

It’s what he told Republican activists at an Orlando gathering Saturday, according to the News Service of Florida:

“Here’s what we’re going to ensure: These are Florida standards,” Scott said. “They’re not some national standards; they’re going to be Florida standards. This is our state. We’re not going to have the federal government telling us how to do our education system.”

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Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Gov. Rick Scott used to support Common Core. Now he's concerned about federal government control over Florida education policies.

Scott is seeking reelection this year, but feeling pressure from conservative activists concerned about the quality of Common Core and whether the standards will limit local control over education decisions.

The proposed revisions to the standards would add calculus (using Florida’s current calculus standards), teach elementary students decimals using money, require elementary students learn cursive writing and allow kindergarten teachers to provide more guidance as students try to identify authors or answer questions about unknown words.

But mostly, the changes do some copy editing to clarify objectives.

So is Florida abandoning Common Core?

Education experts said no. So did Common Core critics.

“It sounds like they kept the comparability with the Common Core,” said Kathleen Porter-Magee, a scholar at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. “So, no, they don’t have a set of standards that is completely separate and distinct from the Common Core.”

Anne Hyslop with the New America Foundation agreed.

“It’s still Common Core at its heart,” Hyslop said.

Opponents agreed:

One big reason is that the revised standards still include the common standards adopted by 44 other states and the District of Columbia. The shared standards will allow states using the same test to compare results.

Florida is adding additional standards. But education commissioner Pam Stewart warned last week that new material — cursive and calculus, for instance — may never show up on whichever Common Core-tied standardized test Florida chooses.

Porter-Magee said Scott was debating semantics about whether the standards were Common Core or not. State leaders can say they made an effort to tailor the standards for the needs of Florida students and teachers, she said, and that’s a good thing.

Still, Scott, legislative leaders and others have been referring to “the Florida Standards.” And House lawmakers have introduced a bill which would delete dozens of references to “Common Core.”

“It might be a more politically motivated decision to brand them that way,” Hyslop said.


  • Tami C. Elton

    So they changed the name and added MORE “standards?” If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . it’s probably Rick Scott and his governance.

  • willispebble

    I am very disappointed in Governor Scott. I reviewed the
    standards last October, during the comment period, and the changes made in
    January. What Pam Stewart is doing is little more than putting lipstick on a
    pig. All the real issues; the age inappropriateness of some of the standards and
    the fact some of the standards are just empty skill sets are still there, ready
    to confuse teachers and students alike.

    When “Pam Stewart warned last week that new material —
    cursive and calculus, for instance — may never show up on whichever Common
    Core-tied standardized test Florida chooses.”, she is being far too
    humble. She knows for a fact that nothing she added will be tested so it will
    be the lowest priority. This was all nothing more then a side show to distract us away from the fact that our kids future is being sold to education vendors and to unprincipled politicians who receive grants for their so called educational foundations.

  • anitahandle

    With almost all the states approving Common Core standards, it means all students
    will test on the same level playing field – that playing field located at the bottom of the intellectual barrel. American children will be dumbed down to 3rd world levels – or worse. Thank you, Marxist Pigs. God forbid that any public school child be allowed to strive for excellence. That would just not be fair to the stupid among them.

  • actofcourage

    Common Core rebranded period

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