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Florida Makes Changes To Common Core - Starting With The Name

Once almost universally accepted and praised, the Common Core educational standards have come under increased attack recently.  The latest comes from the New York State United Teachers, withdrawing its support for Common Core not because of the standards themselves, but because of what they call the State Department of Education's failed implementation of the plan. Other states, mostly led by Republican governors, call Common Core a federal intrusion and blame the Obama administration for trying to take control of state education standards.  But Common Core began IN the states.

In 1996, the nation's governors got together for the first national Education Summit. That summit led to the creation of Achieve, an independent, bi-partisan, nonprofit educational reform organization.  In 2004 they released a groundbreaking report called "Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts", which identified a common core of English and mathematics academic knowledge and skills, or “benchmarks,” that American high school graduates need for success in college and the workforce

In 2009, the National Governors Association put together a group of educators to develop a set of standards.  The standards were released in the summer of 2010 and were quickly adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Critics to the standards claim Common Core is federal intrusion into local school districts.  Florida, under governors Bush, Crist and even Scott, was instrumental in developing the standards and was one of the states that voluntarily adopted Common Core. That changed last month when, under pressure from conservative groups, the Florida Department of Education made changes to the standards and renamed them Florida Standards. Dr. Dana Boddy, an Instructor and Math Program Coordinator at the University of West Florida says the changes made to the standards were minimal.  Common Core includes over 11 thousand standards.  Florida is proposing 98 changes, most of which involve the teaching of calculus.  The new "Florida Standards" would also mandate teaching cursive writing.

One change that has Dr. Boddy concerned involves testing. Along with other states Florida was set to adopt the PARCC test next school year as their assessment for Common Core, but Florida is dropping that test...and has not named a replacement test.

P-A-R-C-C is the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers...a consortium of 18 states plus D-C and the U.S. Virgin Islands working together to develop a common set of K-12 tests in English and math.

The Florida Board of Education is supposed to vote on the changes to Common Core, including the name change later this month.  A decision on which tests to use to assess students is expected by March.

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.