On Friday, GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced new academic standards for the state, shoving out the Common Core standards that had been implemented in the state in 2010, just one year after he started pushing for jettisoning those standards.
DeSantis stated, “Today we’re announcing that mission has been accomplished. It goes beyond Common Core to embrace common sense.” He added, “We need to measure results… but you need to do that in a way that makes sense.”
As TampaBay.com reported, “The new standards will be called the BEST Standards, which stands for the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. Although the standards themselves were not made publicly available on Friday — DeSantis promised they would be online in a week — the Florida Department of Education released summary documents that outline some of the major changes ahead.”
Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said on Friday, “When you’re trying to remember what’s four times four, and you have to think about it and it’s not automatic, you’re never going to be able to conquer algebra and all those other courses.” Another significant change: students in high school will be taught how to balance their checkbooks and apply for loans in an attempt to teach them financial literacy. That course had heretofore been offered as an elective, not a required course.
Additionally, instead of reading “chunks” of books, meaning excerpts from great books, the new program urges the reading of complete books. Either the SAT and ACT would be required for high school students, as well as the Florida Civic Literacy Test for seniors, which TampaBay.com describes as a “100-question exam to encompass the U.S. citizenship exam plus questions about landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases.”
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said numerous complaints had been made over the Common Core approach to math from teachers and educators. He stated, “Teachers never really embraced it, parents never really understood it.”
As The Federalist noted in 2017, Common Core was pushed by the Gates Foundation; the foundation run by Bill Gates and his wife Melinda spent over $400 million to help implement it across the country starting in 2009.
As Valerie Strauss wrote in The Washington Post in 2018 of Barack Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Obama administration’s support for Common Core:
What he did focus on was pushing teacher evaluation systems that relied in large part on standardized test scores — a method of assessment that experts warned was unreliable. He also emphasized expanding charter schools and adopting and implementing Common Core State Standards, spending $360 million to create Core-aligned standardized tests that he said would be “an absolute game-changer” for public education. They weren’t.
Townhall reported in November 2018 that one of the authors of a Pioneer Institute study titled “Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform,” Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks, spoke of the damage Common Core had done, saying, “In my view, [Common Core] is really the worst large-scale educational failure in 40 years.” Townhall continued, “He demonstrated that U.S. students’ math scores on the National Association of Educational Progress (NAEP) had long been creeping up ever since reliable test results became available in the 1970s. But after release of Common Core in 2010 and full implementation in the fall of 2014, NAEP scores plateaued and then began to decline.”
Sandra Stotsky, professor in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, who served on the official Common Core validation committee, stated, “Common Core’s ELA standards do not strengthen the high school curriculum. Nor can they reduce post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate way. As empty skill sets, Common Core’s ELA ‘college readiness’ standards weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework, decrease the capacity for analytical thinking … and completely muddle the development of writing skills.”