Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Florida Education Department Proposing Changes to Common Core


Proposed Changes to Florida Common Core
Taken from "Proposed Changes to Mathematics Standards" on fldoe.org

The Florida Education Department is proposing some changes to the common core standards (and calling them the "Florida Standards". These changes come from an Educational Accountability Summit and are based on public input. You can see the changes here: http://www.fldoe.org/eduaccsummit.asp. Keep in mind (from the fldoe.org website):
"The rows in white represent the public comments, the rows in yellow represent the current standard, the rows in green represent the proposed standard, and the rows in blue represent a new proposed standard. Please note that the grouping of rows about the same standard are separated by solid black lines."
There are a number of changes including 13 in ELA and 24 in Math along with 8 additions to the current standards and 52 additional calculus standards.

Click to see a summary of the proposed changes and commentary about them...

Proposed Changes to English-Language Arts

(Direct link to the proposed ELA changes - PDF)
There is only one major addition to the ELA standards - the addition of cursive writing. The rest of the changes seem to be changes to specific grade levels to clarify the standard (see the example below).
Current Standard - LACC.K.RI.2.6 (shown in yellow)
Name the author and illustrator of a text and define the role each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.
Proposed Standard - LACC.K.RI.2.6 (shown in green)
With prompting and support, identify the author and illustrator of a text and define the role of each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.

The cursive has been added by starting in 2nd Grade with legible printing skills, 3rd Grade beginning cursive skills, and 4th/5th Grade having fluent, legible cursive writing skills.

Proposed Changes to Mathematics 

(Direct link to the proposed Math changes - PDF)
Mathematics is a different story. The proposed changes (shown in green) include the same type of clarifications as the ELA including additions such as "Students are not required to independently read the word problems" (MACC.K.OA.1.2), the addition of yards to a measurement standard to improve consistency (MACC.2.MD.1.3), earlier instruction of money concepts (MACC.2.MD.3.8), clarifying the intent of the standard (MACC.4.OA.2.4), vernacular changes (MACC.5.G.2.4), notation changes (MACC.5.MD.3.5), OR the introduction of Pi as a ratio prior to use in calculators (MACC.6.RP.1.3).

The eight proposed additional standards (not dealing with calculus) address some items left out in the original standards such as solving word problems with addends unknown and equations with symbols (MACC.K.OA.1.6). Other new standards introduce concepts earlier due to concerns with some standards being too advanced such as introducing the usage of rulers in 1st Grade because the current 2nd Grade standards are too advanced. There are also three proposed additions in the 2nd - 4th Grades which are "are fundamental for preparing children for success in Algebra" (MACC.2.OA.1.1a, MACC.4.OA.1.a, and MACC.4.OA.1.b)

The 52 additional calculus standards are included with this note: "To maintain Florida's support for college readiness the current Next Generation Sunshine State Calculus standards will be included in the adoption of this new set of Florida standards."

Commentary


After going over the changes, I don't see any glaring changes that down play the common core. It looks to me like the educators of Florida took a good set of standards, tested them out, took recommendations from educators and parents, and came up with some great suggestions to enhance the current standards to match up with their state's objectives.

The great thing is that they are not removing any standards for being too difficult. I am seeing a lot of this among parents and teachers on social media. They are calling for removal of the common core standards because they are too difficult for the students to meet. This isn't the answer. I think Florida is on the right track with the "Florida Standards". Enhance (or even add to) the current standards to help our students meet and exceed them by introducing some basics a little earlier and introduce more help when needed. I like that teachers and parents want to add cursive writing and calculus back in to the standards. Let's make these children ready for college and the real world!

**UPDATE** 1/23/2014
The links to the full "Florida Standards" (with changes) have been posted. Here they are:

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