Respected conservative education blogger, Shane Vander Hart, doesn’t think much of that changes Florida education commissioner made to Florida’s Common Core Standard and poked holes in the process Stewart and the FLDOE used.
The commenting period ordered by Florida Governor Rick Scott ended on 10/31/14. The comments were supposedly evaluated and standards rewritten in 2 1/2 months (over the holidays). That’s pretty fast. Since it seemed as though they were adding text to clarify standards and then adding new standards the state department of education was primarily keeping within the 15% margin according to the agreement they made.
That’s hardly the change Floridians opposed to the standards were looking for. I’m not saying all of the changes were bad. Adding calculus is good, but this doesn’t address problems with the math standards that will, according to Dr. James Milgram of Stanford University (who served on the Common Core Math Validation Committee) will leave American students one year behind their international peers by 5th grade and two years behind by 7th grade.
Adding cursive is good, but there is still an emphasis on experiential, skills-based learning in the ELA standards, as well as, a reduction in the amount of classical literature, poetry and drama that should be taught in English classes. There is still a misplaced emphasis on informational text extracts. The standards still support analyzing texts that lack historical context and background knowledge.
What leaps out in my mind the most is that there was around 14 hours of testimony given with 19,000 written comments and they suggest only 46 changes?
That tells me they didn’t do anything beyond what their 15% allowance. Florida residents should be outraged.
Looks like Vander Hart agrees with most observers that Stewart knew she had to stay within 15 percent. His take on the developmental aspects of Core is of great concern to educators. Among the 19,000 comments, those concerns were probably shared by teachers and parents. Stewart didn’t listen – or maybe she couldn’t even if she wanted.
The focus away from classics and analytical thinking is what corporate leaders have been talked into believing they need for a “skilled workforce” to “compete in a global economy.” It is they who are keeping the hands tied of educators like Stewart who probably know better.