State’s Education Department Launches Website Asking For Public Input On New Testing Standards

The Florida Department of Education is asking for public input in the department’s development of new testing standards.

On Monday, the department launched, a standards review portal where anyone with a vested interest in Florida’s public school curriculum can share their thoughts.

“So when we’re done with this recommendation, we want to be able to stand in front of any stakeholders and anybody that’s interested in the work that we’re doing in Florida and say with a 100 percent confidence that these standards are the best,” said Public Schools Chancellor Jacob Oliva.

Individuals who wish to leave feedback must create an account first. Once registered, stakeholders are prompted to select between evaluating standards for K-12 English language arts or K-12 mathematics.

The stakeholder will then answer a series of multiple choice questions with the following responses available: eliminate standard, revise standard, move standard and no change needed. Each question has its own comment box as well.

Only the grade pertinent to the reviewer’s interest has to be completed and there is a save feature, so the review does not need to be completed in one sitting.

“We’re going to be transparent,” Oliva said. “And we’re also identifying relevant stakeholders, as far as content area experts, and constituents that are interested in the work that our students are doing.”

For a less intensive process, there is also a short survey people can submit. After inputting their name, email and organization, the surveyee can write their concerns and suggest a replacement in box four and write what they like about the current standards in box five.

Even though the department is already taking in recommendations, Oliva said there won’t be any changes for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years.

The standards review site comes just a few months after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 19-32 to eliminate Common Core, paving the way for its replacement.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has been tasked with comprehensively reviewing the state’s academic standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“We have long decried the endless issues associated with Common Core, and we are taking action to eliminate every last shred of it from Florida’s academic standards,” said Corcoran in a statement. “That’s why today we deployed this specific, detailed survey tool that we’ll use to make student-focused changes.”

In addition to the website, the department will examine standards from across the nation and consider international benchmarking standards before Corcoran holds public hearings.

“He’s going to suggest innovative ways to streamline some of the testing, and to make that so that it’s measuring success but that we’re not just teaching to test,” DeSantis said of Corcoran.

According to the state’s review timeline, Corcoran has a January 1, 2020 deadline to submit his report to the governor.

Prior to the website’s launch, the Florida Department of Education had already held calls and presentations with more than a dozen organizations and stakeholders.

The department will continue to take public feedback until the end of September 2019.