A Look At Florida’s Education Plan B.E.S.T

Friday was the day every Common Core critic was waiting for in Florida. The announcement that the end is near and will be replaced with a new curriculum that’s to be known as the B.E.S.T. curriculum. Hopefully, it will be the best, but it’s actually an acronym for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. So, what’s in it? We’ll know a lot later this week but for now, we know that it replaces Common Core, it also streamlines testing across grades based on subject statewide and it emphasizes civics and literacy.

That’s clearly just the starting point for the conversation. Some of the themes we can expect to hear more about as it’s rolled out for consideration by the state are clarity/transparency for students, teachers and parents, flexibility in teaching the material for teachers, reduction in testing during the school year and clear state-wide standards for grade advancement/graduation.

Some specifics about the changes in the curriculum include that all grades would have standardized booklists statewide to enhance/measure literacy. Also, civics education at every grade level, debate curriculum advanced to sixth grade from ninth, clear education guides for parents and teachers at every grade level so progress is monitored and clearly understood at all times. Furthermore, math education to emphasize correct answers over process, emphasis on “real-world” math concepts and application and lastly financial literacy added in all high-school grades.

There’s a bit more I could spell out but that’s the bulk of the framework for the new curriculum. Details will be key of course, however, there’s a lot to like with what we know. In fact, there’s no specific item I take issue with based on what we know right now. The next big step, after the full release of the curriculum, will be for the Florida Board of Education to consider and vote on the implementation of the proposal. Should that go through, we’ll see implementation begin for the 2021-2022 school year.

Photo by: Getty Images

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