Gov. Ron DeSantis is making good on a campaign promise he made to launch a revision of the state’s education standards. The headlines have been making a big deal out of his targeting of Common Core, such as this one: “Florida governor Ron DeSantis orders state to get rid of Common Core standards.” And many of the news stories about the governor’s announcement also mention his desire to tweak civics education in the state.
What everyone seemed to like was Gov. DeSantis’s idea of getting more civics lessons back in the classroom — teaching kids about the constitution and the principles that our nation was founded on.
But the only Common Core standards Florida has are for language arts and math. (Here is a link to the Common Core website if you don’t know what they are.) Our science standards aren’t Common Core but were last rewritten by committees right here in Florida and approved by the state board of education in 2008.
So, with the spotlight on Common Core and civics, what about all the other academic standards?
Here’s the main message of the governor’s executive order.
By January 1, 2020, the Commissioner of Education shall comprehensively review Florida’s Kindergarten through grade twelve academic standards and provide recommended revisions to the Governor.
Seems clear to me. All standards, not just Common Core and civics, will be reviewed.
I’m curious to see how this executive order will be carried out. When the science standards were rewritten in 2008, they created a massive firestorm across the state because for the first time the word evolution was not only included, but made a main theme. (The full conflict is detailed in chapter 9 of my book Going Ape.) The board of education meeting during which the standards were approved was a circus. (I was there). Just last year there were several local school board hearings held because citizens protested about evolution and climate change in newly adopted science textbooks. And this year there is already a bill filed in the state senate targeting “controversial theories” in science standards.
If this new executive order is adhered to literally, then all standards will have to be “comprehensively” reviewed in less than a year. I can’t imagine fights over Common Core, civics, evolution/climate change, and who knows what else all happening at the same time in the course of about 11 months.
But Florida Citizens for Science stands ready to do what’s necessary to fight for quality science education in our home state.
We’d love to have your help.