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DeSantis: Replace Common Core with state standards

By Staff | Feb 1, 2019

CJ HADDAD Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his intention to sign an executive order to abolish Common Core educational mandates in Florida on Jan. 31 at Ida S. Baker High School in Cape Coral.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Jan. 31 he will sign an executive order to abolish Common Core educational mandates in Florida, replacing them with state standards.

He made his announcement at Ida S. Baker High School in Cape Coral.

“One of the things that we would constantly hear about on the campaign trail is frustration with a lot of parents in particular with this idea of Common Core and some of the testing and some of the things that go into that. Today, we are doing an executive order that is going to instruct (Education) Commissioner (Richard) Corcoran to get to work and come up with good standards for the state of Florida, which includes eliminating Common Core and the vestiges of Common Core,” DeSantis said.

“The executive order will require the commissioner (of education) to provide a road map so that we have authentic, Florida-based standards,” he added.

Corcoran will also work to increase the quality of Florida’s instructional curriculum, suggest innovative ways to streamline testing to measure success other than just teaching solely to an eventual test and identify ways to make civics education a priority in Florida.

“We have the boldest, No. 1 education governor in the entire United States of America,” Corcoran said. “Today, I think you’ll hear one of the boldest executive orders ever.”

DeSantis said that he has heard the voices of teachers, parents and administrators along the way to the Governor’s Office, and that this is a chance for Florida to set itself apart when it comes to educational standards.

“I think that this is a chance for us to really lead the way, but it’s also an opportunity for Floridians to provide input to the commissioner. And we want to hear from you. We want to do this right. This is not going to be something dictated by the federal government. It’s going to be something that’s going to spring up from the communities here in the state of Florida,” he said.

“I’m here to say, when you complained about Common Core, ‘I hear you. I told you I’d do something about it. And today, we are acting to bring those promises into a reality,'” DeSantis added.

The governor stated that he envisions a “nimble” education system that works in conjuncture with communities, businesses and responds to what the immediate needs of the ever-changing economy may be at the time so that students can be “put in the best position as possible to succeed.”

DeSantis believes that education in a time of constant upheaval and recurring change, and noted that the training of teachers in the newest, most up-to-date realms is paramount for student success.

The governor also wants to see a focus on students who may have put in time at a college, university or technical school, but for one reason or another came just short of earning a degree.

“Folks who get some college, but then don’t get that bachelors degree – we want to be able to kind of reverse credential that, so that if they have enough credits for an associates degree, but just can’t get through, at least get them the associate’s degree so they can go out and start to be productive,” he said.

“We want to also do a new program for what we’re calling ‘The Last Mile Completion.’ We have some people that get pretty close to getting that degree, and then for whatever reason – I mean things happen in life – they don’t quite get over the hump. We want to provide financial incentive that if you’re over 90 percent of the way there, that we can link you up with the appropriate courses so that you can get that degree and move on to be more productive,” DeSantis added.

The governor expects the process to put the initiative in place will take the balance of the year, and he will bring the order to the legislature next session to get it done.

“We could have just tried to dictate something on high, but I think it’s definitely worth having (Corcoran) get into the communities, listen to people, so that we get something that a lot of people have confidence in,” DeSantis said.

When asked if the state will lose any federal funding due to the order, DeSantis replied, “I don’t think we’re going to lose any. The president is opposed to Common Core. And I think our standards will be much higher in many respects, but I think it will be standards that are more reflective of what the folks are looking for. I think it will be more geared towards knowledge rather than maybe teaching to a test.”

“We’re not going to lose any funding when you take the standards and make them better,” Corcoran added.

The order includes the examination of testing processes as currently instituted. Many parents have expressed their displeasure with the idea of “high-stakes testing”

“(The executive order) doesn’t say to get rid of any testing, but doing it in a way that I think is trying to measure where we’re at. We don’t want to get in a situation where the test is everything, and that you’re really teaching to a test. This should be something where students just have the knowledge – you could test them tomorrow or two weeks from now, and they won’t have to study for it because they know it. That is the type of knowledge I think that really carries with students more,” DeSantis said.

He ended by recommending the public stay tuned for further announcements pertaining to the future of Florida’s education system in the coming week.