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A Times Editorial

Editorial: New standards deserve a fair hearing

State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart’s revised plan underscores the point that Common Core has never been about federal intrusion.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart’s revised plan underscores the point that Common Core has never been about federal intrusion.

Those Florida critics of the Common Core curriculum who hoped the standards would be substantially rewritten are sure to be disappointed. Instead of a major overhaul, the state education commissioner's proposed changes represent modest tweaks that are reasonable and preserve the integrity of the standards. The proposal deserves a fair hearing next month before the state Board of Education. It would be even more helpful if Gov. Rick Scott firmly embraced the standards and stopped inaccurately suggesting that Common Core is a plot by the federal government to take over public schools.

Created in a bipartisan effort led by states, Common Core has never been about federal intrusion. State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart's revised plan — now called Florida Standards — underscores that point. The 98 proposed changes call for additional standards such as mastering cursive writing in elementary school, learning to count money in first grade and telling time on an analog clock. Fifty-two of the changes deal with adding calculus standards already in place in Florida's Sunshine State Standards. These are pedagogical devices, not political weapons.

The state Board of Education should thoroughly vet the proposed changes and work with Stewart to move forward. Scott should put the needs and interests of students and educators at the forefront rather than making the education standards a red-meat applause line at political rallies. He must convince all involved that the state's greatest responsibility is to its students and that an academically challenging, nationally measurable set of standards is in their best interests. Implementation of the new education standards and the creation of related assessments remains a challenge, and educators need to slow down and get it right. The Legislature can help by resetting deadlines and so can Scott, who should show the way forward rather than fanning the fears of critics who would push Florida backward.

Editorial: New standards deserve a fair hearing 01/17/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 17, 2014 1:14pm]

    

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