This year, a new major change is happening in the K-12 school systems: the removal of Common Core to Benchmarks to Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.). While some are excited for a revision in public schools’ academic approach, many teachers and parents are concerned about the effects of this change in school.
Common Core is the set of academic standards in mathematics and English language arts which set a definite plan for what a student should learn by the end of each school year from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Educators have claimed this system to be a restrictive teaching approach, preventing teachers from using other learning methods they deem to be effective. Further, common core pushes teachers to focus on student performance and accountability, leaving teachers to teach for testing purposes.
“Leaving it up to teachers to decide what’s best for their students, we would be in a much better place from an educational standpoint,” said IB English teacher Kelly Meahl.
The governor and the Department of Education of Florida created B.E.S.T. as a means to replace Common Core. With the implementation of B.E.S.T., Florida will be the first state to require civics education in each grade level and shortened standardized tests. Standardized testing causes scores to label students and does not provide the true nature of a student’s ability. B.E.S.T. will also offer to alleviate the cost of standardized testing for high school juniors by allowing them to take the SAT or ACT paid for by the state until further notice.
“Florida has officially eliminated Common Core. I truly think this is a great next step for students, teachers, and parents,” said Governor Robert DeSantis said in a news release. “Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards were made by Florida teachers for Florida students, and I know they will be a model for the rest of the nation.”
Seminole County Public Schools will comply with the state law regarding the new standards and curriculum beginning in the 2020-2021 school year. The committee believes some adjustments to the curriculum may be made in the next school year to ensure the best education is provided to the students.
“With B.E.S.T., I believe students will have reduced stress on standardized testing and will focus more on learning class material, improving the overall education of students,” said senior Aya Hassan.
As society grows and changes, new and innovative methods of learning are necessary. With a new educational system allowing more freedom to teachers, English teachers will have the opportunity to focus and spend more time on books to develop students’ abilities. While the curriculum of special programs will not change, B.E.S.T. will aim to bridge the gap between the Gifted students and Traditional in the near future.