Another take on Florida's FCAT writing controversy
Florida's flareup on FCAT writing focused on whether students and teachers had enough time to prepare for added emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar in the scoring.
The state is lucky to have the option to push for high standards -- something it forfeits when it moves to nationalized Common Core expectations, Heritage Foundation fellow Lindsey Burke writes on Jay P. Greene's education reform blog:
"The backlash against Florida’s efforts to improve the rigor of the FCAT begs the question: what is the correct level of rigor for the 46 states that have adopted Common Core national standards that will not elicit similar reactions? We have yet to learn where the Common Core central planners will set their cut scores, or how they plan to go about setting passing marks on which both Alabama and Massachusetts will agree.
"It is a cautionary tale for national standards proponents. Much of Florida’s success over the past decade can be attributed to the state continuously improving its standards and tests. With rigid national standards in place, that flexibility would be lost. And if mistakes are made in the standards, they’re here to stay."
Florida is poised to jump headlong into Common Core, going so far as to serve as the fiscal agent for the group writing the national standardized tests. Good idea? Or is Burke's cautionary note about the need for flexibility one that bears deeper consideration?