The Florida Board of Education Tuesday unanimously approved changes to the Common Core standards. The meeting in Orlando was tense and the public comment portion was dominated by anti-common core activists who wanted the standards rescinded. Teachers around the region and around the country are expressing frustration over Common Core, and for many the standards themselves are the least of their worries. It's the uncertainty of how the standards, and by extension the teachers, will be evaluated.
The standards, which are now officially known as "Florida Standards" have goals for what students should know in Math and English by the end of each grade level. Dr. Susan James, an Assistant Professor of Literacy in the School of Education at the University of West Florida and a former high school teacher supports the standards but said that well paid, well trained, and well respected teachers already know how to evaluate students in the classroom. She believes the constant tests only increases stress for both students and teachers.
Dr. Dana Boddy, an Instructor and Math Program Coordinator at the University of West Florida. She also believes the success of any standards lies in how they will be evaluated. She pointed out that there has still been no test chosen for the Florida Standards. Dr. Boddy also feels that individual school districts that might want to implement their own standards will not be able to because of the way schools are funded. She said "the state's not going to let that happen. You're going to follow the state's standards".
Dr. Giang-Nguyen Nguyen is a math educator at UWF who says that teachers will now need to be more flexible and more creative in the classroom to help students understand the concepts being taught "and not here, this is what you have to know and this is what you have to memorize".
One thing all the teachers agreed on was that this is probably not the last time the state will tinker with the standards. The Florida Standards will be fully implemented by the 2014-2015 academic school year. A new assessment test to replace the FCAT is supposed to be chosen in March.