Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Friday he is officially putting an end to the Common Core Standards in his state and replacing them with standards that “embrace common sense.”
DeSantis said at a press conference that his new “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking” (B.E.S.T.) standards, which will be released in the coming days, will mark a “return to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic,” reported Fox 13 News.
With the B.E.S.T. standards, the governor said Florida students will “understand the principles that make America great.”
One year ago, DeSantis issued an executive order that called for the elimination of the Common Core Standards, which former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) had urged the state to adopt. Ultimately, the state “rebranded” the Common Core as the Florida Standards.
In his order, DeSantis instructed the state education commissioner to complete a review of the Florida K-12 academic standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics and submit it to the governor with recommendations for revisions by January 1, 2020.
The governor said in a press release announcing the new standards:
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. 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.
Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said DeSantis “has proven once again that he is the Education Governor.”
Some of the major changes to the K-12 standards include:
- Place reading at the core of the standards development process;
- Place elevated focus on memorizing math facts;
- Content-rich standards that focus on classic literature;
- Define rigor as the product of maintaining high expectations for students
“This is definitely a great step forward because what I’ve seen of the draft, all of our suggestions were taken into consideration,” said middle school teacher Seth Federman, who helped revise the standards.
One of the areas DeSantis said he wanted to emphasize in K-12 standards was civics.
The new B.E.S.T. standards will fulfill the governor’s mandate to “identify opportunities to equip high school graduates with sufficient knowledge of America’s civics, particularly the principles reflected in the United States Constitution, so as to be capable of discharging the responsibilities associated with American citizenship.”
Today, I’m pleased to announce my support for the Florida Civics and Debate Initiative with The Marcus Foundation to provide opportunities for Florida students to debate issues related to American civics. Info here – https://t.co/eJCJ1O43ee pic.twitter.com/teTjX8XGq5
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 27, 2020
Changes to the curriculum will include a civics literacy examination for all high school seniors and a recommended reading list that includes America’s significant foundational documents.
Federman said the B.E.S.T. standards will prepare Florida’s students for the outside world by emphasizing civics for all K-12 students.
“A successful child is a successful citizen if they know their rights as a citizen,” the teacher said.
Corcoran said the new standards “represent the highest quality knowledge-based standards in the nation.”
“They not only incorporate civics throughout every grade, a first of their kind in the nation, ensuring that our students are well versed in the United States Constitution and the responsibilities of citizenship, they also provide educators with clear and concise standards,” he added.