What should replace Common Core in Florida schools? State seeks input

Gov. Ron DeSantis calls for streamlined education standards


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order eliminating Common Core and directed state leaders to come up with new standards for Florida schools, the state Department of Education said it is interested in hearing from parents and educators about what those new standards should be.

The DOE has created an online survey where parents and educators can weigh in.

DeSantis said Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran will lead an effort during the coming year to develop standards and address other issues, such as “streamlining” testing in schools. DeSantis said he expects the results of the process to go to the Legislature during the 2020 session.

In making the move, DeSantis pointed to feedback he received on the campaign trail from parents frustrated with Common Core and standardized testing.

DeSantis’ announcement came five years after then-Gov. Rick Scott took aim at the Common Core standards, which were developed by officials in 48 states and have particularly drawn criticism from Republican voters. The State Board of Education in 2014 adopted what are known as the Florida Standards, a move that involved making changes to Common Core.

WEIGH IN: Take the survey from the Department of Education

Though Scott touted moving away from Common Core in 2014, Corcoran said Florida has been “stuck” with Common Core and alluded to the Florida Standards as a rebranding.

“It’s all the same, it all needs to be looked at, it all needs to be scrutinized,” said Corcoran, who was a state House appropriations chairman in 2014 and later became House speaker. “And we need to sit down with the experts, the stakeholders, the great superintendents, the great leaders in the community and figure out how do we write the best, No. 1 standards in the United States of America.”

Debates about school standards and testing have repeatedly flared in Florida during the past two decades. Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who was elected in 1998, made controversial changes to the system that included a heavy emphasis on testing and holding schools accountable for student performance.

After being developed by leaders from across the country, the Common Core standards have been adopted by 41 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Common Core website. But the standards in recent years became toxic in Republican politics, with many grass-roots voters viewing the standards as a national overreach into schools.