The Florida Department of Education and Governor Scott made some significant announcements yesterday regarding the direction of Florida's K-12 standards and assessments during the transition to Common Core.
The Common Core standards are a new set of standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics designed to make sure all students develop the content knowledge and critical thinking skills required to succeed in either college or careers beyond high school. They were developed by an independent group of educators, state leaders, and education experts led by the National Governor's Association (NGA) and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The Common Core standards were adopted by Florida in 2010 and are already being used at the K-2 grade levels in preparation for full implementation at all grade levels next year.
As part of this transition to the new Common Core standards, the state will also be phasing out the FCAT 2.0 next year and replacing it with a new assessment aligned with the new, more rigorous Common Core standards. Prior to yesterday, Florida had been planning to implement the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career) assessment for this purpose. Among the key points from the announcement, include:
- Florida is withdrawing from its role as fiscal agent for PARCC Governing Board and opening the application process to other providers for the new assessment. This move effectively ends Florida's plans to use the PARCC assessment, though Commissioner Stewart reaffirmed that PARCC is still free to submit a new proposal and bid along with anyone else. They expect to decide on the new assessment by March 1.
- The governor has recommended that Florida solicit additional public input on the Common Core standards. The Department of Education will plan to hold at least three public meetings throughout the state, as well as setting up a website and e-mail address which people can use to provide comments on the new standards. Further details are not available yet, but the governor has stated a goal of having all input collected by November 1st.
The governor also made a number of specific recommendations and requests about the parameters of any new assessment or adjustments to standards in an executive order issued yesterday, along with letters to State Board of Education Chair Gary Chartrand and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Continue checking back with jaxpef.org regularly for updates about these issues as they develop, and more information about the Common Core standards and potential new assessments.