The chairman of the Senate education committee is asking residents to send him their questions about Florida’s new math, English and literacy standards, known as Common Core.
Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz, has posted the Common Core standards to the Senate website and wants to hear questions and complaints before lawmakers return to Tallahassee next year.
“Please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, suggestions, or concerns on the specific standards,” Legg wrote in an email. “Because your participation is critical in the continuous improvement of our educational standards, I will be welcoming your comments from now through the upcoming Legislative Session.”
Legg’s email is the latest move in a growing public relations campaign by both Common Core supporters and those who oppose the standards. Polling shows much of the public has heard little about the standards.
Supporters — who hail from all segments of the political spectrum — say the standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade. The standards streamline the number of topics so teachers can go into more depth with each. Students will be expected to show what they know and prove how they know it.
Critics — who also hail from all segments of the political spectrum — say Common Core limits the ability of Florida and local school districts to control what is taught in school and question the quality of the standards. They also worry the the new exams accompanying the standards will mean more time spent testing. Critics say new class materials and the computers and network capacity needed for the online tests will be expensive.
Florida is one of 45 states which have fully adopted Common Core. Kindergarten, first and second grade classes are using the standards now, while other grades are using a combination of Common Core and the outgoing Florida standards. Every grade is scheduled to use Common Core when classes begin next year.
Opposition to the standards has grown more vocal since the spring. The House of Representatives is scheduled to hold committee meetings in Tallahassee next week. One bill which would halt implementation of the standards has been filed and others are expected.