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PRESS RELEASE

January 25, 2007

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

State Board of Education Approves Revised Sunshine State Standards

TALLAHASSEE — The State Board of Education today approved the revised Reading and Language Arts Sunshine State Standards. The revised Standards incorporate feedback and guidance from teachers, subject-area experts, professional organizations, Reading and Language Arts supervisors and other stakeholders.

"Educators from across Florida shared a commitment to increase rigor and relevance across our standards," said Commissioner Winn. "Florida must move forward to implement higher and more rigorous standards for all subjects."

The Department of Education initiated a review of the Reading and Language Arts Standards in 2005 by using analyses of the Standards from external groups of experts and stakeholders. In addition, a web-based system to receive input garnered over 38,000 comments and ratings. Based on the feedback received, revisions were made to the standards that reflect current education research and expectations.

"The new Reading and Language Arts Standards set the stage for higher academic achievement for decades to come," said State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair. "I applaud the work of our teachers and dedicated professionals as partners to ensure Florida's students are prepared to face the challenges of postsecondary education and the workforce."

Highlights of the revision process included:

  • Identifying specific grade-level expectations for Exceptional Student Education and English Language Learners.
  • Restructuring Standards so that amount of information covered is more manageable.
  • Organizing the Standards to be accessible and easy to use. Standards are arranged by specific grade levels and subject reducing duplicity.
  • Ensuring that the Standards for secondary education are as rigorous as those for the primary levels.
  • Requiring students to develop skills necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce.
  • Drafting the Standards to be clear and easily understood.
  • Increasing the rigor and relevance of the content so students develop critical thinking skills.

As Florida moved toward higher standards for student achievement at each grade level, the Department of Education recognized the need for a systemic approach to review and revise all the academic standards. In January 2006, the State Board of Education adopted a schedule for the regular review and revision of all K-12 standards. This move went far beyond merely increasing the rigor of the standards, but also included alignment with assessments, instructional materials, professional development, and teacher licensure examinations to ensure integration into the entire K-12 curriculum.

"The new Sunshine State Standards for Reading and Language Arts clearly infuse 21st Century skills needed for the workplace," said Bonnie S. Kelley, Immediate Past President of the Florida Association of Supervisors of Media and Supervisor or Library Media/Technology for Pinellas County Schools. "Students urgently need critical thinking, problem solving, information literacy, communication, and technology skills to compete and succeed in a global economy."

For more information about the review of the Sunshine State Standards, please visit www.flstandards.org.