common core update 2015

Florida Common Core: 2015 Legislative Session Update

education tallahassee

Photo from the top of the Florida Capitol: L-R Kathy Doan, Yvonne Isecki, Chris Quackenbush, Mitzi Hahn

BREAKING NEWS! There is a bill in bill drafting to solve Florida’s education issues. Here are the details.

Issue 1: Standards – What they are learning. The Commissioner will select several of the best standards from pre 2009 for the local districts to select. The Commissioner will select these standards for English and math are free and not copyrighted, well vetted and highly rated (higher than our existing standards). Districts will have local control to choose from this list based on their varied needs. Florida’s school districts are diverse and one size does not fit all. Rural, urban, and minority needs should allow for local flexibility to address their needs.

Issue 2: Accountability – Yes, we need to measure, but there are already nationally normed tests that will do a better job comparing us to the rest of the nation and the world. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel or force our kids to be guinea pigs. We propose the districts should have local control to choose from a list of the best of these, such as the Iowa Basics and Stanford Achievement Tests. They would administer ONE test at the end of the year between 3rd and 10th grade. These tests are less expensive and pre-common core versions are available. Teachers will not be teaching to the test if it is a nationally normed test and it is NOT used to determine graduation or promotion, but simply to inform us on our students’ progress.

Issue 3: Testing – These tests can be administered on paper and taken at the student’s own desk, eliminating the “musical chairs” now needed to address the lack of computers for testing. This has, by some reports, absorbed as much as 40% of class time for learning. By going to paper tests, we can reduce costs by BILLIONS of scarce education dollars, AND increase time for learning. It will also allow schools more control of the data to prevent data mining. Student data can be aggregated with individual identifiers removed to prevent data companies from collecting and using individual data.

There is much to do and supporters are invited to help to get this bill passed. There is something for everyone to love in this bill. It saves money, provides more time for learning, provides high standards and accountability. Supporters are having a “March for the Children” event in the Capitol March 5, 2015. Busses are being organized from several cities. If readers want to help organize this event they may contact Debbie Gunnoe or Karen Schoen. Interested parties may register at www.eventbtite/c/march-for-the-children-tickets-15317379695.

Supporters of the bill are asking Floridians to contact their legislators and let them know parents want local control and needed solutions, not posturing in Tallahassee. Credit goes to Senator Alan Hayes and Representative John Tobia for putting this bill into bill drafting. Once it emerges from Bill Drafting in about two weeks, it will have a number. Supporters still must identify who will be best to carry this bill and who is willing to do that job. Neither Rep. Tobia nor Sen. Hayes have firmly committed to carrying this bill.

Readers may Go Here to find their legislators and send a letter to support ACTION on this bill.

Many important steps remain, and supporters are counting on concerned Floridians and Common Core groups to help make a change NOW. There is no DO OVER for our kids.

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