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Politics

Despite Good Intentions, Common Core Is Wrong for Florida

September 19, 2013 - 6:00pm

With the noble and lofty goal of improving education in America, a group of educators and leaders in the education reform movement came together to develop a national set of standards in the hope that our educational system in the various states would meet a common standard and impart a common base of knowledge for all children in America.

Under the mantra of accountability and increased student achievement, they launched -- and a growing number of states have adopted -- what is called Common Core State Standards.

Like so many well-intentioned ideas, the luster of this one quickly fades upon closer scrutiny.

Any state that adopts this national standard willingly cedes a portion of its educational authority; shifting authority and control from the state to this national scheme. And what does the state get in return?

Common Core proponents argue the benefit is increased educational standards and the expectation of improved student achievement. When I looked into this claim I found it lacking. In fact, after thoroughly analyzing the standards contained in Common Core it is clear to me that Florida gives up much more than it gains by adopting these national standards.

A study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute comparing Floridas current Next Generation Sunshine State Standards to the Common Core State Standards found Floridas mathematics standards better than those in Common Core and concluded that Floridas standards are generally excellent. They are well-organized and well-written, and cover nearly all the essential content with both depth and rigor. The high school standards are particularly strong, extending coverage to include STEM-ready material.

In addition the study also states Floridas standards are exceptionally clear and well-presented and they are easier to read and follow than Common Core. Standards are briefly stated and further clarified with the use of additional remarks/examples that explicate the content expectations so the reader knows exactly what is expected. In addition, the high school content is organized so that the standards dealing with specific topics, such as quadratic functions, are grouped together in a mathematically coherent way. The organization of the Common Core is more difficult to navigate

Because Floridas Sunshine State Standards for education already nearly meet or exceed those proposed in Common Core I see no benefit to inviting more Washington involvement in the education of our kids. Given Washingtons track record, our children are better off without them.

Debbie Mayfield is a Republican representative for the Florida House's District 54 -- predominately the northern Treasure Coast. She was first elected to the Legislature in 2008.

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