Friday, May 25, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Test shows need for Common Core

For all the emphasis in Florida on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, an international test of 15-year-olds administered here for the first time provides a far more compelling and sobering snapshot of why the state needs to push past pressure group politics to fully embrace Common Core standards.

The Program for International Student Assessment is a test of math, reading and science given to 15-year-olds in 65 countries and large educational systems. It is sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and has been given every three years since 2000. Fifteen-year-olds are tested because they, on average in these nations, are at the end of their basic education. And the test asks students to do the kinds of things a successful citizen must be able to manage after graduation from high school to be productive members of modern society.

U.S. students have typically tested about in the middle since 2000, and they did so again in 2012, based on the results released Dec. 3. They hovered around the OECD average in every subject — a weak result for the world's largest economy and a nation that spends more than nearly anyone else on education.

The news is worse for Florida. In each nation or educational system, a representative sample of students takes the test, and this time three states — Florida, Massachusetts and Connecticut — enlarged their sample sizes and paid to have their individual state results broken out and compared with the world. Florida, the epicenter for high-stakes testing, performed below the U.S. average in every subject. In other words, America is pretty mediocre, and Florida is worse.

PISA is not a high-stakes test like the FCAT. Teacher evaluations aren't based on it. Students don't pass or fail depending on their scores.

But it is important to see what this first-ever international comparison is saying to the Sunshine State: Our 15-year-olds took the same test as students from dozens of other systems and, in short, they didn't compete. Only 6 percent of the Florida students scored at the highest levels in math, while 30 percent did not achieve even basic competence. That means Florida had fewer high performers and more low performers than did the nation as a whole, which itself did worse than OECD averages on both of those measures.

In analyzing the results, the OECD specifically suggests that "successful implementation of the Common Core standards would yield significant performance gains also in PISA."

PISA doesn't dictate how to teach or how to learn. It simply tests whether students know what they need to — and lists those apple-to-apple results against peers. The same is true of the Common Core standards. It's time to get politics out of the classroom and out of the way of the Common Core. Let teachers and students rise to the clear challenge before them.

Comments
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Itís human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Send out an Amber Alert for Adam Putnam. The red-haired, affable fellow who has served capably as a state legislator, member of Congress and agriculture commissioner is missing. In his place is a far-right caricature who has branded himself as a prou...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Floridians are paying a steep price for a system that makes it as difficult as possible for people who leave prison to reintegrate into civic life. Gov. Rick Scottís clemency process isnít just archaic and cruel ó it also wastes enormous public resou...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyangís nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Koreaís Kim Jong ...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18

Editorial: A positive first step in ensuring student access at USFSP

As a task force sorts out countless details involved in folding the University of South Florida St. Petersburg back into the major research university based in Tampa, ensuring access for good Pinellas students remains a concern. An enhanced cooperati...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

The rising tensions with Iran, the resurgence of violence in the Mideast and the uncertainty over a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea combine to create an unsettling time this Memorial Day. These grave threats to peace are another reminder of...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18