- Florida will release new academic standards this week that include changes to English language arts and math instruction, a greater emphasis on civics education and streamlined testing. Florida is one of a growing number of states repealing or pushing to repeal Common Core State Standards.
- "It really goes beyond common core to embrace common sense," Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a press conference about the new standards.
- Last year, the state announced plans to eliminate the Common Core. The changes come after a year of gathering stakeholder input from parents, students and teachers.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran cited the "flatlining" of results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — and in Florida's case, even a decline in student performance — as a catalyst for the change.
"We want to produce students who are excellent thinkers and who are prepared for the world," Corcoran said, adding the state has "completely ripped apart" Common Core in its new standards.
Both Corcoran and DeSantis said they were inspired by Minnesota's decision to develop its own math standards instead of adopting Common Core in the subject area. "They're No. 1 in the nation almost every year," DeSantis said about Minnesota's math scores.
But while Minnesota recently ranked first in 4th grade math on the NAEP and was among the top states in 8th and 12th grade performance, its overall math score has continued to drop when compared to its performance in previous years.
Part of the change in Florida, Corcoran said, was also simplifying the language of the previous standards so that they are "clear and concise." "Nobody understands [Common Core]," Corcoran said at the press conference. "When teachers ... are unpacking the [new] standards, we don't have to worry that they all unpacked them in four different ways."
The Florida State Board of Education is set to approve the standards within the next two months and implement the new standards beginning in the 2021-22 school year. Florida also is expected to spearhead teacher professional development on the new instructional material this year.
Florida isn't the only state to blame Common Core for disappointing NAEP results. Alabama also is indirectly attempting to scrap the standards for the same reason after legislation failed that would have directly repealed them. Florida joins South Carolina, Oklahoma and Indiana in repealing the standards.
Some argue, however, that the Common Core still needs more time to lead to better results. "To put them to work, to make them effective requires aligned assessments and high-quality instructional materials, and those resources took a half decade or more to build," Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, wrote in a recent article.