Gov. DeSantis signs executive order to eliminate Common Core in Florida

Gov. DeSantis signs executive order to eliminate Common Core in Florida
Gov. DeSantis signs executive order to eliminate Common Core in Florida
Updated: Jan. 31, 2019 at 3:33 PM EST
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SARASOTA (WWSB) - Governor Ron DeSantis announced Thursday a plan to eliminate Common Core across the state and replace it with Florida-based standard.

At a press conference at Ida S. Baker High School in Cape Coral​, DeSantis said that he’s heard a lot of frustration from parents and teachers with Common Core and the testing that goes along with it.

“I had a lot of parents who were frustrated because they didn’t understand some of the math. So let’s try to get this right. We want to be very high quality, we want to demand excellence, but I think we want to do that in a way that’s responsive to some of the concerns we’ve had over the many number of years,” he argued.

Gov. DeSantis announced he’d be signing an executive order to instruct the state education commissioner to provide a road map to Florida-based standards, eliminating Common Core, as well as having the commissioner determine how to increase the quality of instructional curriculum, streamlining testing to measure success not teach to a test, and identifying ways to make civics education a priority in Florida.

That last point is something the governor says is particularly important to him.

""You really need to understand what makes America the country it is," DeSantis said. “We’re not a country where everyone has the same religious denomination or the same ethnic heritage. What unites, or what’s supposed to, is the ideas and certain principles that the country was founded on, that you see reflected int he Constitution, that have really been the focal points for a lot of the great debates we’ve had int he country’s history.”

“I think it’s important that when we’re sending some of these students out, they’re not only prepared for a career or for higher education, they’re prepared to discharge the duties of citizenship.”

DeSantis said making civics education a priority was a campaign promise that he made and it’s clearly one he intends to keep.

His executive order calls for the state education commissioner to complete his review by January 1, 2020. Then, with the governor’s approval, it would be enacted.

Manatee County Superintendent Cynthia Saunders released a statement, saying:

"We certainly support Gov. Ron DeSantis' desire to have Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran spend a meaningful amount of time reexamining where we are and where we are going with curriculum standards. I join other Superintendents around the state as well as teachers and school administrators in hoping that this effort may result in reducing the emphasis on high-stakes testing.

“I think we all want to give our teachers more freedom and control in their classrooms, especially during a time when fewer and fewer young people are choosing teaching as a profession. Ultimately, we look forward to participating in the discussion and working with Gov. DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran in charting a successful path forward for Florida’s students.”

Sarasota County Superintendent Todd Bowden also released a statement, saying:

“I commend Governor DeSantis for reassessing curriculum standards in our state. It’s healthy to review these standards on an on-going basis to determine what subject areas are most important for our students to learn. As our society changes, so should the standards that we work toward. I also call for the Governor to review assessments which are based on these standards – not only the testing of our students, but how their outcomes affect teacher evaluations as well.

"With performance pay mandated by the state on student assessments, I am hopeful teachers will play a key role in developing the new standards and how assessments are utilized.”

Below is the exact language Gov. DeSantis is using in the order:

Executive Order 19-32 directs Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to comprehensively review the academic standards for Florida’s Kindergarten through grade twelve students and provide recommended revisions to Governor DeSantis. The recommendations shall:

  • Articulate how Florida will eliminate Common Core (Florida Standards) and ensure we return to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic; 
  • Provide a roadmap to make Florida’s standards number one in the nation;
  • Reflect Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s consultation with relevant stakeholders to include parents and teachers;
  • Deem how to increase the quality of instructional curriculum;
  • Suggest innovative ways to streamline testing;
  • Identify  opportunities to equip high school graduates with sufficient knowledge of America’s civics, particularly the principles reflected in the Unites States Constitution, so as to be capable of discharging the responsibilities associated with American citizenship; and
  • Outline a pathway for Florida to be the most literate state in the nation.

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