Florida Department of Education Suggests Changes in Common Core

florida-sealThe Florida Department of Education yesterday released a list of proposed changes to the Common Core Math and ELA standards.  The list that will be considered by the Florida State Board of Education at their February 18th meeting includes 13 changes to the English language arts standards and 33 changes to the math standards.  Nine of those changes in math are new standards.

The changes include clarifications to make standards more grade appropriate like adding “with prompting and support” to instead of requiring kindergarteners to know the author and illustrator for each book they read or that they can ask and answer questions about unknown questions in a text.  They are also adding cursive to the ELA standards (which they could do regardless since they can add 15% to the standards according to the agreement they signed).

Most of the changes were just to add clarity to the standards.

With math, they are suggesting, adding Calculus standards (again within the 15% margin). 

You can see the ELA proposed changes below:

You can see the Math proposed changes below:

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.