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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2020

Florida’s K-12 Standards “Better than Common Core,” Says New Report
Should Stand as a New Model for the Country

(Oakland, CA)— The Independent Institute has published a Briefing vindicating Florida’s K-12 curriculum-content standards. A team of education policy experts assert that Florida's standards have strengths relative to their predecessor Common Core in areas such as knowledge acquisition and guidance for teachers. They say the guidelines offer a new gold standard that other states may well choose to emulate.

This spring, the Florida Department of Education announced its new state standards called “B.E.S.T.” for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. B.E.S.T. is a replacement for the Obama-era Common Core Standards in English and mathematics. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had vowed to “eliminate the Common Core from Florida schools,” issued a 2019 executive order to create new curriculum-content standards.

In June, the Fordham Institute published a review of Florida’s B.E.S.T. standards using Common Core criteria. Predictably, the Fordham review found the Florida standards to be “weak.” Not only did the Fordham Institute deduct points for anything differing from the Common Core standards, but the reviewers also were themselves long-time Common Core advocates who, over the years, published numerous articles and opinion pieces praising the Common Core—despite its deleterious effects on student achievement in the 2019 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress, commonly known as “the nation’s report card”).

The Independent Institute commissioned 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 Common Core.

“This review of Florida's new standards shows a vast improvement over the confusing and ambiguous Common Core standards. Florida’s model should give hope to parents and teachers who want to boost student learning,” said Dr. Williamson M. Evers, Director of the Independent Institute’s Center on Educational Excellence.

The entire briefing can be read here.

To interview Williamson Evers, contact [email protected], or 510-635-3690

CREDENTIALS: Williamson M. Evers, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow, Director of the Center on Educational Excellence, and Assistant Editor for The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy at the Independent Institute. Dr. Evers was 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 Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

INDEPENDENT INSTITUTE
100 Swan Way, Oakland, CA 94621-1428

The Independent Institute is a non-profit research and educational organization that promotes the power of independent thinking to boldly advance peaceful, prosperous, and free societies grounded in a commitment to human worth and dignity. For more information, visit Independent.org.

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