At a press conference Friday in Naples, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran laid out their plan for revising the Florida Department of Education academic standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics — in short, scrapping Common Core standards.
Their proposed replacement, Florida Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards will be unveiled by February, a release from the state said.
“When I took office, I made a pledge to the citizens of Florida to overhaul our educational standards to remove all vestiges of Common Core and return to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic,” said he said. “I am pleased that this historic task has been completed and we are well on our way to making Florida the best state in the nation for education. My deepest thanks to Commissioner Corcoran and Department of Education staff, Florida teachers, parents, subject matter experts and stakeholders for their participation in this transparent, in-depth and comprehensive process.”
One year ago this week, DeSantis issued an executive order to create an exit strategy for Common Core and “provide a roadmap to make Florida’s standards number one in the nation,” a plan to include innovative ways to streamline testing and “outline a pathway for Florida to be the most literate state in the nation.”
Considerations for those new standards include clear content progressions from one grade to the next, being rigorous enough to maintain high expectations, and a plan for proper professional development that supports teachers in providing the standards-based education DeSantis and the state education staff seeks.
The Governor’s recommendations included making both teachers AND parents “relevant stakeholders” in the process, and re-introducing civics into the curriculum and developing a civic literacy exam for high school seniors.
The pathway for Florida to become the most literate state in the nation would “prioritize reading by finding every opportunity to build the foundation of early literacy skills.” (Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like the mission behind the local Osceola Reads and Footsteps2Brilliance initiatives?)
For more on the proposal to create the B.E.S.T., read the Governor’s Office’s Executive Report.