Parents, district react to DeSantis’ call to scrap Common Core

Common Core may be eliminated from Florida schools following an announcement last week by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative details K-12 expectations for students nationwide in language arts and mathematics.

The state previously adopted Common Core standards, though they were later altered and renamed “Florida Standards” in 2014. The altered educational initiative added a focus on cursive writing, as well as calculus in high school and the value of money in math problems.

“I think our standards will be much higher in many respects, but I think it will be standards that are reflective of what folks are looking for,” DeSantis said during an announcement Jan. 31 in Cape Coral. “It will be more geared toward knowledge than maybe just teaching to a test.”

DeSantis said he decided to eliminate the remaining pieces of Common Core after he heard complaints from teachers and parents while running for office.

The governor said he has tasked Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran with coming up with authentic Florida-based standards over the next year.

DeSantis also noted that Corcoran has been instructed to pay attention to what both teachers and parents suggest as new concepts are developed.

Here in Osceola County, officials said they would continue to teach Common Core until they are instructed to do otherwise by the state.

“Until we have more information, we are unable to project possible effects,” said Dana Schafer, public information officer for the Osceola County School District. “Until new standards are written, we will continue to teach the Florida standards as required in statute.”

Jonathan Peralta is an Osceola County School District graduate who said he was glad to hear the news and hopes other students will no longer have to learn Common Core.

“It’s about time,” Peralta said. “As a former student who went through this, I’m happy to see it go. Maybe now teachers can finally focus on teaching our kids instead of how to pass an exam.”

Many parents alleged that Common Core taught kids “the long way” to solve certain math problems, making it difficult for them to assist their children with homework.

But not all parents objected to the system.  

St. Cloud resident Laura Field admits learning to adjust to Common Core was a little challenging, but thinks anything is teachable if everyone – including parents – makes an effort to learn it.

Field equates helping her kids solve math problems with Common Core to using chopsticks instead of a fork.

“If I had to go to a country and eat with only chop sticks forever, it might be hard and weird and I might not like it,” Field said. “But if that’s the rule and the way there, I hope there would be people to help me learn.”

The final plan for what may replace Common Core will go before the Legislature for approval in March, DeSantis said.