School Board Member Marcia Andrews and Common Core
It was a packed room to hear District 6 School Board Member Marcia Andrews at Wellington’s Total Wine & More on Monday.
The Common Core Standards are an attempt to unify K-12 education across the nation around a set of grade-specific core skills, ostensibly aimed at raising the worldwide competitiveness of American students. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details, and much anecdotal evidence has surfaced that when the standards are translated into curricula, they represent a “fundamental transformation” that many would argue is not needed or wanted.
Implementation of the standards in Florida was mandated by then Governor Charlie Crist in 2010 and has been rolled out in kindergarten and first grade, with movement to the higher grades about to begin. As they roll out, opposition has been growing across the state, prompting Governor Scott to reject the assessment part of the program called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers), leaving open the question of how assessment in the state will proceed. This, and the move to slow things down while the debate continues, shared by Ms. Andrews and others on the School Board and in the state-wide Florida School Board Association, has the possibility to create chaos in K-12 education as teachers are trained, materials are adopted and the rollout continues in the face of a groundswell of opposition.
Ms. Andrews and District Director of Secondary Education Diana Feldman gave the group an overview of history and plans for Common Core in Florida, and fielded many questions from the floor regarding required reading lists, data collection on students, the autonomy of local teachers to shape the curriculum in their classroom, and other hot-button issues.
Although few who have formed positions regarding Common Core would have been swayed by the session, it was informative and gave us the impression that the School Board is listening.