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Education

Florida Superintendents Want Three-Year Extension To Prepare For New Standards

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Florida school superintendents are asking for three additional years to fully switch to math, English and literacy standards known as Common Core.

Florida is one of 45 states to adopt the standards, which outline what students should know at the end of each grade.

Kindergarten, first and second grade classrooms are using the standards now. Other grades are using a combination of Florida’s outgoing standards and Common Core, and are scheduled to completely switch to Common Core at the start of the next school year in the fall of 2014.

Schools are scheduled to start using a new test tied to Common Core in early 2015, though lawmakers may delay that deadline.

Volusia County schools superintendent Margaret Smith told the State Board of Education this morning that schools need more time to train teachers and allow them to learn the standards and new classroom materials. Smith said schools are also adjusting to a new law requiring teachers are evaluated, in part, based on student test scores.

“Our concern is that there is no time..for teachers and students to prepare in an adequate way,” Smith said. “Our teachers need to be able to deliver the standards and the curriculum in a meaningful way.”

Smith said the Florida Association of District School Superintendents was requesting the Common Core “pause.”

Board member Kathleen Shanahan — at her final meeting — was skeptical about the delay.

Despite complaints from school leaders about the number of changes to the state’s school grading system, 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress scores show Florida students are improving.

“It sounds like these are adults we’re trying to take care of in the system,” Shanahan said. “The kids are performing.”

Smith said the superintendents association would present their plan to the state board later.