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Better than Common Core
Florida's K-12 Standards Raise the Bar
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Independent Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Williamson M. Evers is interviewed by Independent Executive Director Dr. Graham H. Walker on Florida's new K-12 curriculum standards compared with Common Core State Standards.

In February 2020, the state of Florida published its new K-12 educational standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, as promised by Governor Ron DeSantis a year earlier. DeSantis promised that the new standards will be a real departure from the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) that swept the nation in 2010 with only cursory review and without any serious validation, and the new Florida standards, dubbed B.E.S.T. for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, deliver on his promise.

The Independent Institute decided to commission its own review of Florida’s B.E.S.T. standards, in which the evaluation would be performed on the basis of research and empirical evidence rather than on the basis of alignment with CCSS. The Independent ELA team found the Florida B.E.S.T. standards to be “the strongest standard in ELA currently in use in the United States,” and that with “modest additions and clarifications, the Florida standards can stand as a new model for the country.”

Graham H. Walker
Graham H. Walker is Executive Director and Assistant Editor for The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy at the Independent Institute. He received his Ph.D. in public law and government from the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Walker has served as Associate Professor of Politics at Catholic University of America, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Visiting Scholar in Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ), Senior Research Scholar at the Witherspoon Institute, Headmaster at Oaks Christian School, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, President at Patrick Henry College, Legislative Aide to former Congressman David Stockman, and Fellow at the Presidio Institute.
Williamson M. Evers
Williamson M. Evers is a Senior Fellow, Director of the Center on Educational Excellence, and Assistant Editor for The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economyz at the Independent Institute. Dr. Evers received his Ph.D. degree in political science from Stanford University, and he has served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development from 2007 to 2009; Senior Adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings during 2007; and former Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. In addition, he was a member of the Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force on K-12 Education from its beginning in 1999 until it wrapped up in 2014. From July to December 2003, he served in Iraq as Senior Adviser for Education to Administrator L. Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

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