No more Common Core: Bay County's academic future

BAY COUNTY, FL -- (WTVY) Thursday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a major executive order eliminating "Common Core and the vestiges of Common Core".

Bay District School's Board Chairman, Steve Moss, says this move was a long time coming. "The state was kind of moving towards, I believe, eliminating Common Core and some of those standards and some of that language even before now. This just really made it official when Governor DeSantis came out and said we're eliminating it," said Moss.

According to corestandards.org, Florida joins eight other states plus Puerto Rico that have done away with the popular standards.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has until January 1 of 2020 to provide a road map of new Florida based standards. This will include suggestions on how to improve the quality of curriculum and new ways to streamline testing.

During his announcement, Governor DeSantis stressed the importance of civics education in new standards, something Congressman Neal Dunn agrees with. "It's possible to go all the way from kindergarten to a bachelor's degree in the Florida school system and never take a history course or civics course ever and I think that's a terrible oversight in everybody's education. I would love to see that back in the education system," said Dunn.

The changes won't happen overnight. Moss says the transition will be a process but until then, the school system will wait for guidance from the Department of Education on what the new standards may entail.

Superintendent of Bay District Schools, Bill Husfelt, issued the following statement:

"You may have read/heard the news below yesterday and, regardless of your reaction, it’s only natural to wonder how this impacts our classroom instruction right now. Well, I want to remind you that unless and until our legislators make changes we will continue to teach the Florida Standards that align to the FSA and other benchmark testing that we are required to use to measure the progress of our students.

While I know that this news causes uncertainty, and talk of change can be unsettling, I support Governor DeSantis in his decision to closely examine our educational 'requirements' and to consider ways that we can continue to improve. I applaud the move to ensure that stakeholders are included and I am sure that we have many students, parents, and employees who look forward to being a part of this ongoing conversation.

It’s no secret that I believe we have, as a state and as a system, been requiring too much testing and have been relying too heavily on the results of those tests for outcomes for both students and teachers. I applaud any effort to reduce the amount of testing required and I hope that this new committee will consider using already-existing assessments, like the ACT and SAT, in lieu of creating new tests. The enormous about of money wasted on testing and assessments has been ludicrous!

I think we all agree that you can’t improve without continuous reflection and that sometimes means change but I have never been a proponent of change for the sake of change. While I support this effort to examine what we are doing for ways to improve, the amount of money already tied up in FSA-related textbooks, curriculum, professional development and assessments gives me pause.

What I hope arises out of these critical conversations is more flexibility for our teachers to make the professional decisions for which they were trained. What I hope we gain is more time for teaching and less time for testing. What I hope is that the conversation is student-centered, non-partisan and open to all stakeholders. What I really hope is that this conversation includes a discussion about channeling some much-needed additional funds into salaries for all educators. What I hope we actually get is more local control!

In the meantime, we will continue to work diligently to teach our students what they need to know to master the required state assessments and to be successful in whatever paths they choose after high school. I have complete faith in you, our educational professionals, and I know that you will continue to keep the best interests of our students as your number one priority no matter what."



 
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