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New standards for Florida schools begin next school year
FLORIDA -- Next school year, Florida will have a new set of standards for students. It's an attempt to make sure children across the country learn the same things in the same grade. Florida standards started with the common core basics then modified it. Some of the changes are it adds high school calculus, sets standards for cursive writing in elementary school and links lessons on decimal points to money. Local educators don't think the state is ready to implement the program.
Brown Barge Middle School math teacher, Lalla Pierce, has had to get used to a few new tests. First the FCAT, then the FCAT 2.0 and now a whole new test that doesn't even have a name.
She said, "It is difficult teaching this year, not knowing what next year's assessments will be."
For educators, upping the standards isn't the problem, it's the test that will measure it.. Students are supposed to take it next year, but the test hasn't even been created. Pierce said, "I've had students ask me 'will this be on FCAT', and then I say 'no, it won't". They want to know why, because there will be a new test, and what will it be? We don't know."
Superintendent Malcolm Thomas thinks the state is rushing through this without a solid plan.
He said "The concerns are how will you manage that? Will it be technology only? If so-now there is a slew of problems like bandwidth and how do I plug in thousands of instruments and how do you pay for the instrument device?"
Those are all questions he doesn't have the answer to. Several companies are bidding to administer the test.. The state board is expected to make a decision this month but school districts can only guess how the standards will be measured. Thomas said, "I think it will be more rigorous. The way we expect the students to respond will be different. It will be more relevant, more hands on thinking....You will be given a scenario in math, you will have to work that out and decide. Write your steps out and make a plan, that's how you will get scored, but again without the test, our teachers -we are not in a position to prep most of that because you just don't know."
The new standards are set to start next school year.