DeSantis unveils summary of B.E.S.T standards, Florida's answer to Common Core

Governor Ron DeSantis is officially doing away with Common Core after announcing new curriculum standards for Florida public schools at a news conference in Naples Friday.

DeSantis is calling his plan a "return to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic." 

It's a more simplified approach and it's known as the B.E.S.T. standards, which stands for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking. The new standards are aimed at eliminating standardized testing, incorporating more civics, and simplifying math.

"It really goes beyond Common Core to embrace common sense," DeSantis said.

Middle school teacher and member of the Florida Council of Teachers of English Seth Federman has been involved in the revision process for months and he says it's exactly what Florida students need.

"This is definitely a great step forward because what I've seen of the draft, all of our suggestions were taken into consideration," Federman said.

He is one of dozens across the state who helped revise the standards.

Some of the major changes include:

  • Ending to "confusing/crazy math;"
  • Focus on the "correct" answer and not only the method;
  • Eliminating two statewide tests for 9th-graders in geometry and language arts;
  • The state will pay for students to take the ACT or SAT.

"The great thing about these new standards is that each and every part is very clear and to the point, whereas old standards may have three steps. This one has one step," Federman said.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran was also there for the governor's announcement.

"We want to produce students who are excellent thinkers and who are prepared for the world and who can go out there and grab a job and wrestle with the great questions of life, synthesize large volumes of information, make a great decision," Corcoran said.

Preparing students for the outside world is part of the reason the B.E.S.T standards emphasize civics at all grades level. It's something Federman says is key.

"A successful child is a successful citizen if they know their rights as a citizen," Federman said.

Right now, the standards themselves have not yet been made public. Friday, the governor's office released a 21-page summary of the major changes. He says the full standards will be made be available within the next week.