They can't get worse
As we wait for folks to comment on the state's proposed new social studies standards – which just came out about a week ago – it's worth noting the current ones didn't get much love, at least not from the Fordham Institute, at least not in history.
In this 2003 report, Fordham (the same group that gave Florida an F for its old science standards) gave Florida a D for its U.S. history standards, saying they weren't complete, specific or organized enough. The report singled out the standards' treatment of slavery as an example: "Slavery is mentioned in benchmarks on the Civil War, but none of the earlier topics include the origins of slavery in the seventeenth century or the development of the slave economy in the South after the Revolution – a subject at the heart of Florida history."
In 2006, Florida's world history standards got clanged even worse in this report (go to page 59 to see Florida's grades, subject by subject). "Anything but illuminating," the report said. "Florida seems to believe that all of world history, from ‘the beginning of time' to ‘Western and Eastern civilizations since the Renaissance,' can be reduced to 21 bullet points on a single page."
Okay then. The proposed new standards encompass American history, world history, geography, economics and civics. You can comment on-line about them through July 16.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter