skip to Main Content

Florida Curriculum Standards Targeted for Reviews

The Florida State Board of Education will consider adopting a major overhaul of curriculum standards in several subjects in public schools, including guidelines for teaching civics and courses government and Holocaust education.

In documents outlining the proposed standards, the state’s education ministry said the requirements would reflect priorities such as teaching a “sense of civic pride” and how to “participate regularly in all. levels of government ”.

Detailed by grade level, the standards would also require Florida students “to study primary source material to understand the philosophical underpinnings of the American Republic and the root cause of American exceptionalism.”

Students could also “compare the success of the United States with the success or failure of governance philosophies in other countries to assess their past, present, and likely future effects,” according to the proposed standards.

The process of revising state-level standards for civic education and Holocaust education has been underway for some time. A bill passed by the Florida Legislature in 2019 resulted in a review of civic education curricula, and a measure passed in 2020 resulted in a review of Holocaust education standards.

Education officials held a three-step “listening tour” to discuss and hear public comment on the proposed standards in May and June, with the last session taking place in Baker County last month.

“The standards describe… what do we expect students to know at each of these levels,” Jacob Oliva, chancellor of the department’s Public Schools Division, told a small crowd during the Macclenny decision.

The Holocaust guidelines were developed in collaboration with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran’s Task Force on Holocaust Education and other state and national educational organizations.

“Right now in our classrooms there is Holocaust education. These topics are covered and incorporated into some social studies standards, but they were not specific to Holocaust education, ”Oliva said at the Macclenny event on June 9.

Education officials will also consider adding character education and substance use and abuse education to existing health education programs.

In addition, alternative standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics will be considered for students with “the most significant cognitive impairments”, and minor “technical” revisions are offered for English Language Arts education.

“When you write standards, it is not a [thing], you get it perfect the first time around and that’s what you have forever. The needs of our students change, the expectations of what we want students to learn grow and evolve. So the standards should be reviewed and they should be revised, ”Oliva said last month.

If approved by the Board of Education, the new standards are unlikely to appear in classrooms until the 2023-24 school year, according to Oliva.

“Once we get new standards, we revise the courses to reflect those standards, and then we will seek to align the textbooks with those standards and the professional development of our teachers,” he explained.

The proposed review of social studies standards comes after a series of moves by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-dominated Florida legislature to emphasize patriotism in civics.

DeSantis visited an Orlando charter school on Tuesday to announce $ 106 million in civic education initiatives, including strengthening teacher education in civics with a pledge of a $ 3,000 state bonus for educators who are completing it. DeSantis said in March that civic initiative money would come from federal coronavirus relief funds.

“I think every piece of survey data, or every time people have ever looked at what is basic civic knowledge for people in all of American society, but especially for young people, I think 100% of the time the results come back and they’re ‘you’re kinda bleak,’ DeSantis told reporters in Orlando on Tuesday.

Lawmakers passed two civic education bills during the legislative session that ended on April 30, including a measure requiring students at state colleges and universities to take a course and exam. civic literacy as a condition for graduation.

The other bill will revise the social studies requirements for high school graduation to include in US government courses “a comparative discussion of political ideologies, such as communism and totalitarianism. , which conflict with the principles of freedom and democracy essential to the founding principles of the United States. States. “

DeSantis signed the two measures last month.

At its last meeting in June, the State Board of Education approved a rule that imposes controversial guidelines on how US history is taught in public schools.

The rule, in part, says that teachers “cannot define American history as anything other than the creation of a new nation based largely on the universal principles set out in the Declaration of Independence.”

DeSantis, who made a video appearance at the June meeting, told the board “we have to educate people, not try to indoctrinate them with an ideology.”

Ryan Dailey reports for the News Service of Florida.

Back To Top