State Board of Education Adopts New Student Performance Standards

Posted on July 14, 2021 by Staff reports

The State Board of Education adopted new student performance standards that will strengthen Florida’s already nationally-recognized education standards. The standards approved today include Holocaust Education, Civics and Government, Character Education and Substance Abuse Prevention.

“The standards adopted today will ensure that every student has the skills and knowledge necessary to be a great student, a great citizen and a lifelong learner, ready to fulfil the responsibilities of citizenship and healthy living,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As parents of three children, First Lady DeSantis and I are grateful to the State Board of Education for their actions today that will enable Florida’s students to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ leadership and the countless hours of Florida’s teachers and content experts who helped us develop these standards through multiple rounds of public feedback,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “Thanks to Florida educators, these standards are elevating the quality of education for Florida’s students and equally supporting Florida’s world-class teachers.”

Highlights of the standards adopted today are below.

Character Education Standards – While Character Education has been required for years in Florida statutes, these are Florida’s first standards for Character Education, setting clear expectations for students and teachers. The Character Education standards provide opportunities for students to learn how character contributes to the overall civic health of a society and understand the importance of resiliency, responsibility and respect.

Substance Abuse Prevention Standards– Substance Abuse Prevention instruction has been a component of Florida’s education standards for mental health and an element of required instruction. Adoption of these standards means Florida will now have clear expectations for students and teachers that are specific to Substance Abuse Prevention. Substance Use Prevention standards will give students an opportunity to develop an awareness of the dangers associated with the use and abuse of harmful substances and develop essential knowledge and skills that promote a drug free lifestyle, as well teach them how to support others to be drug free and obtain local valid and reliable substance use treatment services. Educators will find support and guidance in the teaching of substance use and abuse education in Florida’s schools and assist them in developing more resilient and healthy students.

Civics and Government Standards – House Bill 807 in 2019 required the Florida Department of Education to complete a review of the statewide civics education course standards. The public was invited to evaluate then-current civics and government standards through an online review system; the responses were analyzed and a workgroup – comprised of Florida teachers, the Florida College System and specialized subject area experts – was formed to propose revised standards. After a series of public workshops and webinars, civics and government standards were drafted, critiqued, improved upon and finalized to ensure Florida students have the highest quality civics education standards in the nation.

These developmentally appropriate standards are clear and concise so students, parents and teachers understand the learning expectations. Students will learn about the principles of the United States Constitution and other founding documents, and attain a well-rounded knowledge base to understand how to become great citizens.

Holocaust Education Standards – The 2020 Legislature directed the Department of Education to prepare and offer Holocaust Education Standards, prepare a roadmap for Florida to be the model state for Holocaust Education, and include teacher experts, state and national organizations, the public and the Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education (HB 1213), with the goal of creating comprehensive and in-depth standards that facilitate both high quality instruction of Holocaust education and antisemitism.

These developmentally appropriate and historically accurate standards support the teaching and learning of Holocaust education in Florida, including providing students with a deep understanding of antisemitism and help to reduce antisemitism in future generations. The standards are designed to assist teachers, school and district leaders with implementation of high quality Holocaust education instruction.