FSCCC is grateful to Cathryn Moering for making the effort to attend the Tampa Standards Hearing and giving the following excellent remarks:
Florida's K12 Standards (2nd Draft) Listening Tour: Jefferson High School 10/17/2019
First, I want to thank Dr. Stotsky and Dr. Bauerlein for working on the draft to improve our ELA standards, as well as Dr. Effrem and Keith Flaugh for their work advocating for better standards in Florida. I would also like to recognize the new reading list that was published; it is excellent.
I would like to speak about Florida's proposed math standards. If our goal is to have math standards that will give our students the foundation to successfully pursue a career in science, mathematics, engineering or other related careers in data science then we must benchmark our standards to those that are highly respected like California's 1997 math standards. I will add that the underpinnings of data science involve quite a bit of applied mathematics. But back to standards, California's 1997 standards, according to an article published by Stanford University's Hoover Institution, were "written largely by the faculty of the Mathematics Department at Stanford University..."
We not only look toward giving our own children the best, we also must consider the education we are providing for our citizenry as a whole, those who surround us and those we lean on to make contributions to our society and to our country.
Taking a quick look over the proposed K-5 math standards I have concerns with multiplication and division math standards proposed for 4th and 5th grade (specifically section MA.4.NSO.2 and 5.NSO.2). I noticed we are proposing our students become proficient in performing these specific math standards an entire year later than in California's 1997 standards, which presented almost identical standards in 3rd and 4th grade, not 4th and 5th.
But more importantly, the Read more
Good evening! I am Dr. Karen Effrem, a pediatrician serving as the executive director of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition. Thanks to the Department for your hard work in carrying out Governor DeSantis' great executive order to end Common Core, which has been shown in state and national research to be an educational disaster, chiefly harming poor and minority students.
Our strongest preference would be that the standards of high performing pre-Common Core states replace these fundamentally flawed standards. The second draft seems to be a great improvement over the minor tweaking that took place in 2014, but not yet that replacement.
Progress is however being made. Some of the developmentally inappropriate standards have been moved to their proper places in both subjects. We are delighted to see that use of the standard algorithm in math moved two years earlier compared to Common Core.
Math work still needing to be done includes:
• Making sure there is far greater emphasis on procedural fluency instead of communication, collaboration, and effortful learning
• Not overusing the variety of strategies concept
• Making sure that the lower grade level math is properly sequenced and leads to a full Algebra I course by the end of 8th grade to allow those that want to pursue STEM careers to be able to complete calculus by 12th grade.
In English, there has been great improvement in the literature list. Remaining work includes:
• Making sure phonics is appropriately intense in the early grades
• Making sure a coherent literature curriculum is linked to the ELA standards so that they do not remain content-free skills
The developmentally inappropriate standards still need more repairs in both subjects. There is still time. Please keep up the great work. Thank you!
There Read more
The following podcasts were produced by our allies at the Florida Citizens' Allliance to help explain the various aspects of the Common Core problem:
FLCA Podcast #16: A Roadmap Away From Common Core Math (Dr. Lawrence Gray)
FLCA Podcast #20: Addicted to the Standards Solution with Mark Bauerlein
FLCA Podcast #15: Understanding Standards with Sandra Stotsky
FLCA Podcast #17: Social Emotional Learning with Dr. Karen Effrem Read more
There are new plans to expand the 2016 Competency-Based Education (CBE) to every county in the state despite any lack of evidence of effectiveness and actual failurein Lake County. This will disburse the Common Core tests to constant computerized embedded assessments and greatly harm the student-teacher interaction. The Senate bill (SB 226) by Senator Jeffrey Brandes appears stalled in the Appropriations Committee, but the House bill (HB 401) by Rep.DiCeglie is currently on the Consent Calendar for April 23rd. Let your representative know this is a terrible idea. The many problems with the bill and concept are available in this short document [A PDF version of this document with footnotes is available HERE].
Concerns about the Competency-Based Education Pilot Program (SB226/HB401) - 2019 Legislative Session
The expansion of the Competency Based Education Pilot Program to all 67 districts in SB 226/HB 401 is problematic, not only because of in the absence of data showing its effectiveness in any of the pilot counties, but because of the clear evidence that it failed in Lake County, one of the original pilot districts. Lake County experienced a significant drop in graduation rates and the grade for the high school implementing CBE dropped from a B to a D. Bill Gates, who was funding Lake County's CBE effort before it failed has admitted that education technology has not improved academic performancein general.
Data collection, including psychological data, in CBE is extensive, with the FBI issuing public service announcements warning of the privacy dangers related to education technology.
Other CBE problems include:
The concern that this data will be used to pigeonhole children into careers not of their choosing
Harm to the student-teacher interaction
Narrowing of curriculum to that which can be digitized
Inability of parent or teacher to actually Read more
This article written for The National Pulse by Dr. Karen Effrem describes the implicatioins of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' announcement to issue an executive order to end Common Core education statewide. This announcement, made in Cape Coral Florida, comes after campaign promises to end the use of Common Core standards. Although there is concern about the potential for hijacking of this effort by the corporate and political establishment, there is still hope that this announcement will result in substantive change.
Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis followed through on an oft-repeated campaign pledge to "end the last vestiges" of Common Core in the Sunshine State. He signed Executive Order 19-32 that directs Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to "comprehensively review the academic standards for Florida's Kindergarten through grade twelve students and provide recommended revisions to Governor DeSantis.
There has been concern expressed among activists that this may be another attempt to rebrand Common Core, as done under the Rick Scott administration and in multiple other states. And frankly, Florida activists were concerned about DeSantis' change from speaking of "getting rid of Common Core" to merely doing a "review" during his general election campaign, suspecting that the reigning pro-Common Core political establishment was hijacking the governor's conservative instinct.
However, it is highly significant that Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran admitted the standards under the previous administration were Common Core rebranded. I believe that if the DeSantis administration were merely pursuing another rebrand effort, they could have just gone along with the well-worn but false claim that Common Core was already gone from this state.
The other piece of evidence that leads me to believe this is a genuine and well-intended effort is that there has been absolute media silence about the Read more
The enormous problems with Common Core Standards (CCSS) and accompanying tests have been obvious to parents and citizens groups since they first were imposed by states succumbing to federal bribery/coercion in 2010. Voluminous evidence continues to confirm those perceptive beliefs.
Parents, along with many experts, saw the academic inferiority of CCSS immediately. Parents have been in the forefront of protesting the destruction of math education during the Common Core era. Not teaching standard algorithms, marking correct answers wrong because the student didn't use Common Core methods, and developmentally inappropriate standards have made it impossible for parents, even engineers and professors, to help their children with math homework. The resulting distress has led to a mass exodus of both students and teachers from public schools.
In English, vocabulary-rich classical literature that both teaches students how to write well and important principles of Western Civilization has been replaced by dull technical manuals or psychologically manipulative texts. Snippets of classics are taught without context.
Data is vindicating these parental concerns in spades. Jane Robbins of the American Principles Project described a new Pioneer Institute study by Ted Rebarber of AccountabilityWorks and Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute, "Common Core, School Choice and Rethinking Standards-Based Reform," that explains "how Common Core has not only damaged public education but also threatened the independence of private schools. How? By imposing government strings on the curricular autonomy of the schools that accept government funding via school-choice mechanisms such as vouchers. Rebarber called Common Core 'the worst large-scale educational failure in forty years.'"
Undergirding that statement are the 2017 NAEP national results in math, which showed stagnation after declining for the first time in 25 years in 2015. Although Florida Read more
The following guest column by Dr. Effrem was published at Sunshine State News discussing the many conservative reasons that the defeat of the proposed Amendment 8 was a correct decision.
As the Florida Supreme Court considered and ultimately removed Amendment 8, the education constitutional amendment, from the November ballot, there was a debate occurring among Florida conservatives over both the wording and the merits of the proposal.
Part of the amendment allowed entities other than duly elected school boards, to authorize education alternatives, charter schools being chief among them. Some well-meaning conservatives have been arguing that opposition to Amendment 8 was limited only to liberals. These conservatives also said that opposition to Amendment 8 was a "vote for the status quo" where half of students, especially poor students, can't read at grade level.
The truth is that there were many Floridians who opposed Amendment 8 specifically and are concerned about the rapid expansion of charter schools for conservative reasons. Here are the six most important:
Loss of Local Control
When has moving control of anything farther away from the local level increased parent or citizen control? Putting charter decisions in the hands of Tallahassee legislators or bureaucrats, many funded by the very charter corporations viewed with suspicion by Floridians, will not improve parental or local decision-making. The majority of charters are not high-performing like the Hillsdale classical charter in Collier County. They are corporate charters, the boards of which may not be in the same state or even country (think the controversial Turkish Gulen Harmony Schools), much less the same city or county as the schools they control. The same establishment groups and individuals that gave us Common Core and data mining were promoting this amendment. Neutering and or eliminating duly elected school boards has been on their to-do Read more
Apparently to pave the way for another testing vendor or to choke off the option of using a test not so heavily aligned to Common Core, the Florida Board of Education is getting ready to phase out using the math section of the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) as an alternative for students that do not pass the Algebra I End of Course (EOC) test to allow high school graduation with a standard diploma.
Though stated not to be adequately academically rigorous, the PERT is the current test used as an entrance test to allow high school students to take credit bearing courses at Florida's community colleges for the dual enrollment program.
This is quite illogical and should be opposed. If the PERT math test is good enough to measure readiness for enrance into the dual enrollment program for college courses, it should be more than adequate as an alternative to the Algebra I EOC which is sadly based on the academically inferior and confusing Common Core math standards. Common Core was rebranded as the Florida Standards by the Florida Legislature and Governor Scott in 2014 after insignificant tweaks.
The comment period is now open until May 7th. You may go to this link to read the proposed rule and to submit a comment: https://www.flrules.org/Gateway/View_notice.asp?id=20300662 by clicking on the "Make a Comment" button.
It does not need to be very elaborate. Please personalize your comment, but you may say something simple along the lines of:
The math section of the PERT should be kept as an alternative to the Algebra I EOC. If the PERT is used as an entrance exam for high school students to take college level math courses in the Florida dual enrollment system, it is perfectly adequate to serve as an alternative for the Algebra I EOC.
Remember - You have until May 7th to try to keep this means of opting out! Read more
FSCCC recently joined over 100 national and state organizations in signing a letter to Congress strongly urging an overhaul to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law overseeing student privacy.
It is incredibly important to fix FERPA and protect student data and psychological privacy as we have seen on multiple occasions in the recent past:
The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal is affecting students and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is testing and planning to manipulate the same personality traits in students involved in the Facebook dust-up.
Just this week, there was another major scandal with Pearson committing psychological experiments on college students without consent.
The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development is pushing for social emotional learning (SEL) to be involved in school safety issues, which will not help.
Mental screening programs with all of their subjectivity and inaccuracy are starting to pop up all over the country, such as those discussed in Texas.
Efforts to increase data sharing with corporations, researchers and among federal agencies without consent in Congress through the Foundations for Evidence-based Policy Making Act (FEPA) and the College Transparency Act (CTA) are also being pushed by the data grabbers.
Here is the link to the full letter. Please use it to contact your members of Congress and congressional candidates. so that we may protect the privacy and minds of our children and our freedoms as Americans.
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