The Orlando Sentinel reports that education leaders worry schools won’t be ready for common core in time to meet its mandates and that there’s not enough money for implementation.
By Leslie Postal, reposted from Orlando Sentinel February 18, 2013
Florida schools are scrambling to be ready for new Common Core academic standards – and the new computer-based tests that go with them – by 2015.
At their meeting Monday in Orlando, some members of the State Board of Education questioned if schools had made enough progress training teachers on the language arts and math standards and on preparing for a new batch of online tests.
“It’s now February. We have be ready to roll the next calendar year,” said board member Kathleen Shanahan.
The state’s new “readiness gauge” shows more progress on the standards than the technology, as many schools still don’t have the computers, bandwidth or high-speed Internet access needed for the tests and the state’s overall “digital learning” push.
The State Board requested more than $400 million for new school technology in the next year, but Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a smaller hike of $100 million.
“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.
Education Commissioner Tony Bennett praised the new standards, which 45 states have adopted, as academic guidelines that “will transform the way our students learn.” The new tests, he said, were key to making sure they are well taught.
But he said there are “complexities” to implementing both, among them the “technology readiness” of the 22 states, Florida included, that plan to use the new tests from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. They are to replace FCAT math, reading and writing exams.
He said within the next few months his staff will devise a “Plan B” in case implementation cannot proceed as planned by 2015.