ROCKLEDGE, Fla. - Governor Ron DeSantis made eliminating the state’s Common Core education system one of his major campaign promises.
On Friday, he announced that the Common Core was officially gone from Florida's classrooms. In its place, Florida is adopting a new system called "BEST," which stands for "Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking."
The state says it has a number of differences from the former Common Core education standards. Among the changes, BEST scraps the old methods of solving math problems that people complained were too complicated, introduces a list of books across all grade levels, incorporates aspects of civics in every grade, and brings back lessons in handwriting and cursive.
Vanessa Skipper, Vice President of the Brevard Federation of Teachers, and an English teacher said it sounds like more of the same.
“Really, when it comes down to it, the BEST standards are a talking point. It's the ability for people to say they got rid of Common Core when really they repackaged it, and I don't think anything is really going to change.”
Skipper worried it would be a waste of money, and said her main problem with common was the testing requirements. “I'd like to return to giving teachers more autonomy in the classroom so children can learn based on experiences and not just the ability to select A, B, or C on a test.”
Brevard County parent Melinda Tysdal agreed that BEST seemed like Common Core by a new name. “It's something that's already been introduced, just given a new label, in my opinion,” she said.
Victoria Deem, another local parent, said she would give BEST a chance. “So, I have to say I'm sort of in support of part of the new stuff they want to do,” she said.
The state's Education Commissioner is recommending that the State Board of Education formally adopt the new BEST standards next week.