LAND O’ LAKES — With questions and concerns brewing about Common Core State Standards, state Sen. John Legg is hoping to pinpoint just what the problems are.
Legg, R-Lutz, a supporter of Common Core, is asking Florida residents to review the new education standards on the Florida Senate website and send him an email with comments, suggestions or concerns. In that email, he asks that residents specify which standard interests them.
The text of the standards can be viewed via the Education Committee page of the Senate website at www.flsenate.gov or on the state Department of Education website at www.fldoe.org/schools/ccc.asp.
Math and language arts are the only subjects that standards have been developed for so far. Legg is chairman of the Education Committee and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Common Core State Standards are national standards that have been adopted by 45 states, including Florida, and the District of Columbia. Proponents say the standards provide more depth of learning and will better prepare students for college, the workforce and competition in a global economy.
A growing number of critics say the standards aren’t as rigorous as proponents claim and represent a federal intrusion into what should be state and local decisions about education. Some opponents express concerns that student data collected could violate student privacy
Among the critics is a group called Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, which argues that Common Core will “harm the quality of education in Florida, violate our children’s, families’ and teachers’ privacy rights, deny state sovereignty and local control, and be unsustainably expensive.”
The standards are already being phased in and are to be fully implemented in the 2014-15 school year. Among the supporters are President Barack Obama, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is among those who has come out against Common Core.
The standards specify the mastery of a subject students should be able to demonstrate. For example, one of the sixth-grade standards for language arts says students should be able to “determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative and technical meanings.”
One of the third-grade math standards says students should be able to “use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100.”
Legg has said he often hears complaints about Common Core, but when he asks people to review the standards they can’t point to anything to which they object.
Pasco County School Board members say they are concerned that misinformation is being spread about Common Core. They have plans for a workshop Oct. 1 to discuss the standards. In addition, in an effort to educate the public about Common Core, the school district is preparing a brochure and already has videos on its website as well.
Superintendent Kurt Browning told the board Tuesday evening that the district’s transition to Common Core is “hard work,” but he’s convinced it’s the right thing to do.
“Next year, with full implementation of Common Core, it will be worth it all,” Browning said.