Hillsdale College announces its part­nership with the state of Florida. Courtesy | Hillsdale College

The state of Florida has selected Hillsdale College to con­tribute to its public school learning stan­dards for the second year in a row, the college announced in August. Hillsdale will work with the Florida Department of Edu­cation to review the state’s stan­dards for civic edu­cation as well as its English lan­guage arts and math­e­matics cur­riculums.

Hillsdale began working with Florida in 2019 after the state passed a law that required its edu­cation com­mis­sioner to review instruc­tional mate­rials and testing spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Hillsdale College was one of six insti­tu­tions and gov­ernment orga­ni­za­tions selected to consult on the project.

Much of the work in reviewing Florida’s cur­riculum has been headed up by the Barney Charter School Ini­tiative, a project of Hillsdale College that pro­motes clas­sical K‑12 edu­cation by estab­lishing charter schools across America, including in Florida. “Hillsdale College and its Barney Charter School Ini­tiative are leading the effort to prepare the men and women of this gen­er­ation to again govern the American Republic according to the prin­ciples of liberty,” said Kevin Hoeft, edu­cation policy devel­opment director at the Florida Department of Edu­cation. “It is my con­fident hope that Florida’s revised civics edu­cation stan­dards will con­tribute to this noble and essential work.”

The Barney Charter School Ini­tiative had a team who worked on the project, com­posed of former teachers with expe­rience in civics, gov­ernment, and United States history. The primary con­trib­utors were Kathleen O’Toole, Hillsdale’s assistant provost for K‑12 edu­cation; Daniel O’Toole, who teaches U.S. Con­sti­tution at Hillsdale College and con­tributed to the ini­tiative; and Jordan Adams, asso­ciate director of instruc­tional resources. The team combed through each indi­vidual standard and pro­vided reviews, feedback, and sug­ges­tions for improvement.

“What I really appre­ciated about what Florida was asking is that they really did want expla­na­tions of it,” Adams said. “They really wanted to learn and to have a con­ver­sation about it.”

The revised stan­dards have not yet been finalized or imple­mented into public schools, but Hillsdale and the Florida Department of Edu­cation are looking forward to com­pleting it. Florida is expected to finish its review of the civics stan­dards by the end of 2020.

“I’m opti­mistic that if this is a good improvement that our advice will be heeded and will result in better civics stan­dards for Florida,” Adams said.

O’Toole also expressed hope­fulness about Florida’s efforts to improve its public edu­cation. She added that well-edu­cated grad­uates make better cit­izens.

“Cit­i­zenship is more than just an attitude toward your country,” O’Toole said. “It also stems from having a deep knowledge of what this country is. The stan­dards teach stu­dents that America is a country like no other. It’s a country that was founded on an idea, the idea that all men are created equal. And every American citizen should under­stand what that means and how unique that is.”

Original Link:

http://hillsdalecollegian.com/2020/09/hillsdale-asked-to-advise-on-florida-public-school-curriculum/

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