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DeSantis: Common Core Replacement To Be Rolled Out Soon, May Include Citizenship Test For HS Seniors

Ryan Dailey

Governor Ron DeSantis says the state is poised to roll out K-12 education standards that will replace common core before the year is out.

Removing “all vestiges” of common core, a set of standards for mathematics and English-language arts, was something DeSantis tasked Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran with in the Governor’s first weeks on the job. But DeSantis gave few specifics on what its replacement will look like, aside from saying he wants a civics education component included.

“Our common core replacement will be unveiled, probably by the end of the year – and look, parents, when they find out that they are actually going to be able to do the math with their kids without having to wonder, you know, why can’t they just do simple math? People appreciate that,” DeSantis told reporters at the Associated Press’ legislative preview day at the Capitol.

DeSantis says his administration is thinking about having high school seniors take the U.S. citizenship exam as part of that civics component.

“We’re looking at potentially having the high school seniors take the citizenship exam, or something similar to that, prior to graduation,” DeSantis said. “I don’t know that we’d make it contingent on anything – but just do it and see where we’re at.”

Earlier this month, the Department of Education held a nine-county listening tour to get public input on what Floridians want to see in common core’s replacement.

DeSantis also talked teacher pay at the AP legislative preview, saying the 2020 legislative session “needs to be the year of the teacher.” The governor referenced his plan to increase starting pay for teachers.  After getting some criticism for omitting veteran classroom teachers from that plan, DeSantis stressed that more than just incoming teachers will benefit.

“That actually provides a raise for the majority of current teachers – it’s not just for starting teachers, every teacher would need to be paid a minimum salary of $47,500,” DeSantis said. “You look around the state – you have teachers starting in places like Miami and Broward at $40,000, $41,000-ish – those are pretty tough places to get by on that.”

DeSantis says the pay hike could be an effective recruitment tool for rural districts. He also teased some other priorities he says may be in the works.

“We’re also looking at doing things in addition to that, like principal bonuses, teacher bonuses – so stay tuned to that,” the governor said.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.