Florida Winds Up to Knock Out Common Core… Who’s Next?

Florida Winds Up to Knock Out Common Core… Who’s Next? cover image
Florida Winds Up to Knock Out Common Core… Who’s Next? cover image

In a surprising move, Florida’s newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis announced last week that he will push to get rid of Common Core education standards in the state. Florida first adopted Common Core back in 2010, then 4 years later decided to keep it but change the name to the Florida Next Generation Standards. It’s been a source of controversy in the state ever since, with detractors saying it’s too much intrusion from the Federal Government, and supporters saying it provides stability in education across the board. Last week’s move was met with a lot of celebration from Florida teachers and parents, but with an equal amount of uncertainty as well. Florida is now set to be the latest in a growing line of states pushing back against Common Core, but what is Common Core exactly and what is its future in America?

We want to be very high quality, and we want to demand excellence,”

-Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

The Common Core Standards were born in 2009 as a way to make sure every state was teaching roughly the same skills in the same grade levels. It was also a way to guarantee that children got all of the skills they needed before leaving school all together. Researchers collaborated with educators, administrators and experts to come up with a unified set of standards in Language Arts and Math for kids grades K-12. The federal government showed its support of the standards by offering additional funding to states that adopted it.

At first, Common Core was hailed as a saving grace to education. Standards would be unified from state to state, and everybody would be on the same page. Within the first five years 46 states had adopted most of all of the Common Core standards, but that support didn’t last for long. 

Several states felt the standards represented way too much federal government interference and not enough opportunity for individual states to have their say in how they were implemented. Teachers also noticed the way they were being asked to teach various standards didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Math specifically drew the ire of teachers across the country who were being forced to teach skills in ways that were confusing to not only the students but to the teachers and parents as well.

Eventually, state legislatures started pushing back against the standards, with at least seven of them drafting bills to repeal all or part of it. While many of those attempts failed, that didn’t stop the chorus of detractors from growing. Teachers felt limited as to what they were allowed to teach in their classrooms, parents were baffled as to how to help their children with confusing new methods of solving problems, and administrators began to see the effects of over-testing students.

Since then, 4 states — Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Arizona — have voted to repeal Common Core, with Florida now poised to be the 5th. The plan calls for Florida’s Education Commissioner to come up with a new set of standards that reflect Florida and its students. At a press conference, Governor DeSantis was clear that he wants more than just a minor revision. 

It all needs to be looked at, it all needs to be scrutinized.” –Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

As the debate over Common Core rages on, there are more questions than answers. Will states lose federal funding if they repeal it? What will states replace it with, if anything? Does this mean states will have to develop or purchase all new curriculums? If so, how will they pay for it? For now, the rest of America will keep an eye on Florida to see what they do next and what the ramifications are for its students moving forward.

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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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