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Parents, Teachers Hopeful with Governor's Focus on Public Education

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Friday, February 8, 2019   

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis says he wants to give teachers a bonus of more than $9,000 in the coming year. It's his second big education announcement, after an executive order last week to eliminate Common Core standards from Florida schools.

The proposed bonus is welcome news for cash-strapped teachers who sometimes dip into their own pockets to purchase school supplies. However, some have warned that it might be a massive and costly overhaul to remove elements of academic standards known as Common Core from the Florida Standards.

Linda Kearschner, president of the Florida PTA, said it involves getting new books and professional development for teachers.

"There's a cost attached to all of that," she said, "and we absolutely have to make sure that we're providing sufficient resources and supports for students."

Some parents argued that the current guidelines are too rigid and required too much testing. The Florida Department of Education announced Thursday that the plan is to keep Common Core in place until at least Jan. 1, 2020.

Common Core was adopted by Florida in 2010, part of a national initiative for uniformity in monitoring students' progress in math, language arts and literacy. In 2014, Florida updated the standards to include calculus and cursive writing, and renamed them the Florida Standards. Kearchner said she wants to make sure the state includes all stakeholders, including students, in drafting a new plan.

"They need to understand what those expectations are, but parents need to know that, too, so they can help their children," she said. "So, it's imperative that both teachers and parents are at the table when any new standards are created."

No matter which standard is used, Kearchner said, the goal should be the same - to ensure every child graduates from high school ready for college or career. The Florida Education Association, a statewide teachers union, also welcomed the news and echoed the call for teachers to be part of the conversation in creating new standards.

The executive order is online at ewscripps.brightspotcdn.com.


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