Cross-posted from the Curriculum Matters blog
by Catherine Gewertz
Embroiled in uncertainty about the common core, the Florida Department of Education is proposing dozens of changes to the standards, including adding more than 50 in math focused on calculus.
Although some states have enacted legislation putting limits or “pauses” on the new expectations or on tests designed for them, Florida appears to be the first to dive into a deep review of the standards, and to come up with proposed revisions.
Links to the proposed changes in math and English/language arts are on the state department’s website. The rows in green are the proposed changes; those in yellow are the current standards. In the math standards, there is an additional column—blue—to show additional standards being considered for addition to the current ones.
Among the proposed changes in math are the addition of 52 calculus standards, noteworthy in a state that recently backed away from requiring Algebra 2 for all students.
In English/language arts, among the changes are standards that introduce cursive writing and develop it during elementary school. The department also seems to have concluded that a couple of the expectations for the youngest students were too much of a stretch. Proposed changes modify the standards to ask that kindergartners, for instance, name the author and illustrators of a text and explain how each helps present ideas “with prompting and support” from their teacher, rather than independently.
Members of the public also sought changes to the standards during public hearings. You can see those suggestions listed in the white columns of the department’s documents, even without endorsement by the state agency as changes the board should consider. An analysis of the public comments shows that about half of those expressing views didn’t take positions for or against the standards; the other half was roughly divided between those who supported the standards and those who opposed them.
The standards review was undertaken in part to quell concerns in some quarters that embrace of the standards meant that Florida was capitulating to the priorities of the federal government, which has made no secret of its hope that states use them as their educational north stars. But according to the Miami Herald, the proposed standards changes didn’t do much to change the worry about federal overreach.
A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.