The Florida Board of Education was expected Wednesday to formally
“eradicate” Common Core from the state’s K-12 school curriculum and replace it with new standards.
The state’s Department of Education (DOE) has released its proposed Florida Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST) Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, officially fulfilling Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pledge – and January 2019 executive order – to “eradicate” Common Core.
“Florida has officially eliminated Common Core,” DeSantis said in a statement.
“I truly think this is a great next step for students, teachers and parents. We’ve developed clear and concise expectations for students at every grade level and allow teachers the opportunity to do what they love most –
inspire young Floridians to achieve their greatest potential.”
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran will go before the state BOE to request it adopt BEST, a curriculum that emphasizes American history and civics, classic literature and high school financial literacy instruction and replaces “crazy math” that focuses on methodology instead of correct answers. The standards were released Friday by DOE.
“Florida will be the first state in the nation with an ELA booklist that spans grades K-12, the first state in the nation with a civics booklist embedded in its ELA standards, and a state that has dropped the crazy math,” Corcoran said. “Florida has completely removed ourselves from the confines of Common Core.”
BEST standards will not be implemented immediately, but over a three-year span. Once BOE formally adopts BEST, the DOE’s plan calls for a gradual transition from Common Core in ELA beginning the 2021-22 school year and in math starting the 2022-23 school year.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative was adopted in 2010. The initiative was sponsored by the National
Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and adopted in whole or part by 45 states and the District of
In Florida, former Republican Govs. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist supported their adoption. In 2014, at the direction of then-Gov. Rick Scott, the BOE adopted the “Florida Standards,” which changed some Common Core components but left “vestiges” intact.
From its beginning, Common Core has been criticized vigorously and challenged by conservatives, liberals, parents and teachers for many reasons, including federal intrusion into state and local influences on curriculum and its focus on testing, which critics allege consumed too much classroom time and was too costly for many districts.
Florida conservatives routinely blasted the Obama Era standards as “social issue-based education" and called for schools to return to teaching the "3Rs” – reading, writing and arithmetic.
Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, is among those who applauded the announcement in a tweet.
"Common Core in Florida is over,” Avila wrote. “THANK YOU.”
Others said BEST doesn’t de-emphasize testing enough and expressed reservations about curriculum.
“The Florida B.E.S.T. K-8 Math Standards are essentially the SAME as the Common Core Math Standards,” tweeted Dr. Kristopher J. Childs of Winter Garden, a mathematics content specialist with textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “Florida’s B.E.S.T. Stds could even be considered Common Core 2.0.”
Regardless, DeSantis vowed last week, the state is moving forward with BEST, noting the standards were reviewed 100,000 times by “consulting teacher experts” with a combined 1,510 years of classroom experience, who met 11 times with more than 80 Florida education “stakeholders” and discussed the proposed changes in nine public hearings.
“Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards were made by Florida teachers for Florida students, and I know they will be a model for the rest of the nation,” he said.