Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Renaming 'Common Core' standards does little to end Florida's education debate

TALLAHASSEE — The state education department tried to distance itself from the controversial Common Core State Standards last week by recommending changes to the benchmarks and giving them a new name.

"The proposed standards are truly our own," Deputy Chancellor Mary Jane Tappen said during a Tuesday workshop on the freshly named "Florida Standards."

But is Florida really moving away from the national benchmarks, which have drawn tea party ire in recent months? Or are the suggested revisions a matter of semantics?

"At their heart, the standards in Florida are still Common Core standards," said Anne Hyslop, a policy analyst with New America Foundation's Education Policy Program, noting that many of the proposed changes are minor.

Hyslop added: "The rebranding and messaging is largely political."

The Common Core State Standards outline what students should know at each grade level. They have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia and are already being used in schools throughout Florida.

The Common Core became a lightning rod in the summer when conservative critics branded the education standards an example of federal overreach.

Vocal opponents called on Florida to "withdraw" from the initiative and create standards of its own.

Since then, the phrase "Common Core" has been on its way out in Florida. It was so conspicuously absent from the October state Board of Education meeting that Chairman Gary Chartrand reassured his colleagues: "It's okay to say it."

" 'Common Core State Standards' is not a dirty word," Chartrand said.

Earlier this month, state lawmakers published a proposal to strike the words "Common Core" from state law.

State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart introduced the name "Florida Standards" last week, alongside 98 recommended changes to the benchmarks.

The suggestions, which were drawn up based on thousands of public comments, included 52 new calculus standards and a cursive writing requirement.

A new name was not required. States using the Common Core standards are allowed to add up to 15 percent of their own benchmarks to what already exists.

Education department spokesman Joe Follick said the decision was made to help avoid confusion.

"With so many proposed changes to the standards since they were adopted by the (state Board of Education) in 2010, it seems most honest and clear to refer to them as Florida Standards," Follick said.

He added that the "Florida Standards" would encompass all of the state's education benchmarks, not just the math and reading guidelines that grew out of the Common Core.

Still, last week's announcement was enough to prompt some Common Core opponents to claim victory.

"While the governor did not say that we are (formally) pulling out of Common Core or the federal mandates associated with them, he seems to have found a way to get around them," Martin County Republican Committeeman Eric D. Miller wrote in an email to other Republicans last week. "I cannot express my enthusiasm strongly enough for these outcomes."

But Randy Osborne, a political consultant and co-founder of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, was not satisfied.

"Let's not just change the name," Osborne said. "We must pull out of it completely, get out of the system."

Follick, the education department spokesman, said the focus should not be on whether the standards are "Common Core" or not.

He noted that the benchmarks had been adopted by the state Board of Education, subject to "unprecedented" review, and would now face a second Board of Education vote.

"The focus is on putting the best standards in place to prepare children for success in college, in career and in life," he said.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.

Renaming 'Common Core' standards does little to end Florida's education debate 01/19/14 [Last modified: Sunday, January 19, 2014 7:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humilation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry announced crowd of 24,325 at Raymond James Stadium.

    Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  5. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings