Associated Press reporter Bill Kaczor takes a comprehensive look at Florida’s transition to national Common Core Standards. Interim state education commissioner Pam Stewart glows predictably as Common Core “is about the skills required in Florida.” This description by Kaczor sums up why the whole this is a big head scratcher:
The new standards in math and language arts aren’t as broad as the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards they are replacing, but are deeper. Students will study fewer ideas and facts, but they’ll be expected to know more about those they do study.
And this from Stewart:
Common standards will make state-to-state test score comparisons “more apples to apples” than ever before, Stewart said, but most importantly they will require students to learn skills, knowledge and abilities they’ll need after they leave high school.
Golly, I feel better already. So Common Core “aren’t a broad, “but they are deeper.” And “students will study fewer ideas and facts, but they’ll be expected to know more about those they do study.” While FEA president and former teacher Andy Ford says that “all this sounds like the way I was taught to teach back in the ‘70s,” he offers prudent caution.
“Some people are falling into the anything’s better than the FCAT, but I’m not there,” said Ford. “I’m a little leery of trying to replace one bad program with another.”
Ford also is among those who have questioned the fast pace at which the new standards are being implemented and the lack of a pilot program to try them out first.
Floridians must now brace more tests which “will be more complex but also more realistic” while still being shoved into the state’s collapsing and discredited multi-level accountability systems. State leaders, already saddled with a resume that includes FCAT, school grades, and teacher evaluations – debacles all – want Floridians to trust them that they’ve gotten it right this time.