LAND O’ LAKES — The Pasco County school district is hoping to shed light on Common Core State Standards for anyone puzzled or concerned by the educational shift in Florida and most of the rest of the nation.
The district will hold the first of 13 community meetings on Common Core at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Anclote High School, 1540 Sweetbriar Drive, Holiday.
Between now and the final meeting March 4, district officials hope to combat what they say are misconceptions about the standards, which have been adopted by Florida, 44 other states and the District of Columbia and are scheduled to be fully implemented in the 2014-15 school year.
“We want everyone to understand what the standards are and what we want to achieve by basing our curriculum on them,” district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said.
That includes not just the public, she said, but also school staff members who may still be confused about some of the details.
The Florida Board of Education adopted the standards in 2010, and in 2011 schools began phasing them in, starting with kindergarten and first-grade students.
Initially, the standards got scant attention, but slowly they have become controversial.
Common Core proponents say the standards provide more depth of learning and will better prepare students for college, the workforce and competition in a global economy.
A growing number of critics say the standards aren’t as rigorous as proponents claim and represent a federal intrusion into what should be state and local decisions about education. Some opponents express concerns that data collected could violate student privacy.
With that criticism building, Gov. Rick Scott arranged a series of town hall meetings around the state in October where the public could give feedback with the possibility the state Board of Education could make some tweaks to the plans.
In Pasco, Superintendent Kurt Browning and the school board have stood by the standards, even approving a resolution to that end and calling on the governor and the Legislature to stand by them, too.
The district also already has made efforts to fight misinformation.
For example, in November, Trinity Oaks Elementary held an informational night that was prompted because a parent had been sharing misinformation with other parents about the standards, Cobbe said.
“They had a good turnout,” she said.
At Anclote High, those who attend will see videos of teachers using the standards, and there will be time for questions, Cobbe said.
The district also has a brochure titled “Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the Common Core State Standards” that will be distributed.
Every high school in Pasco is hosting a meeting, and the district wants parents of all age levels, as well as community members, to attend.
“We encourage business people, stakeholders of all kinds to attend,” Cobbe said.
All meetings are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The other community meetings are: Thursday at Pasco High; Jan. 23 at Mitchell High; Jan. 28 at Fivay High; Jan. 30 at Gulf High; Feb. 4 at Wesley Chapel High; Feb. 6 at Land O’ Lakes High; Feb. 11 at Hudson High; Feb. 13 at River Ridge High; Feb. 20 at Zephyrhills High; Feb. 25 at Sunlake High; Feb. 27 at Ridgewood High; and March 4 at Wiregrass Ranch High.