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Which Common Core standards concern you? Florida wants to know.

The Department of Education’s one-question survey is the start of its review process.
Donna De Sena, a resource teacher for Hillsborough County, spoke in favor of the Common Core standards during a meeting at Hillsborough Community College in October 2013. Meetings were held around Florida to discuss the standards, at Gov. Rick Scott's request. EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times
Donna De Sena, a resource teacher for Hillsborough County, spoke in favor of the Common Core standards during a meeting at Hillsborough Community College in October 2013. Meetings were held around Florida to discuss the standards, at Gov. Rick Scott's request. EDMUND D. FOUNTAIN | Times
Published Feb. 19, 2019

Do you hate the Common Core? Love it?

The Florida Department of Education wants to know why.

But it’s not too deep into the details just yet.

After telling superintendents Friday about plans to delay textbook adoption schedules to make time for a standards review, the department posted a questionnaire asking respondents just one thing: “What standards concern you, and what is your suggested replacement?”

That’s a far cry from the detailed survey the department used during its 2013 standards analysis. That time, residents were asked not about their general opinions, but rather about specific individual standards within the whole.

The department also conducted public hearings across the state, some of which grew testy, to say the least.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who pledged during his campaign a “complete review of Florida’s curriculum standards to ensure that we are not rubber-stamping Common Core or any other one-size-fits-all standards,” issued an executive order in January calling for that overview.

In it, he referred to any recommendations coming after “consultation with relevant stakeholders to include parents and teachers.”

The single open-ended question is just the beginning, department spokeswoman Audrey Walden told the Gradebook.

“The survey is the first thing we have done to collect public input, but it will not be the last,” Walden said via email. “We will share more details about future input opportunities as they are available.”

DeSantis has asked for any proposed changes to get to him by Jan. 1, 2020, in time for the Legislature’s winter session. If things move as desired, the State Board of Education could have revisions to consider by spring 2020, with districts left to figure out how to implement them afterward.

Much of the complaining over Common Core has come from conservative Republicans, who argued against what they considered a national curriculum forced on the schools by the federal government. The standards, though, were developed in conjunction with the National Governors Association and adopted independently by states, with no requirement to do so.

States that did not accept the Common Core, though, were less likely to receive federal funding through the Race to the Top program that promised millions of dollars at a time when money was scarce.

Another frequent criticism of the standards focused on the way math is to be taught. The Common Core emphasizes understanding of how the math works, using several ways to find an answer, rather than rote memorization of tables and formulas. That frustrated many parents who wanted to help their children but could not fathom the system.

Florida’s latest effort comes just as school districts were adopting new math textbooks. A change in standards could lead to rewriting of the problems and approaches used in the books.