by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

The big news in education in Florida is that the state will receive funding in the national Race to the Top program  — possibly $700 million.

That kind of money is the driving force that enabled Florida’s governor, Charlie Crist, to get 54 of the local teachers’ unions to support the state’s Race to the Top application and the classroom changes that would be required.

One of the big conditions on receiving this federal money is to accept the Common Core Standards that were announced by the federal government last spring.

For all of us who have worked in K-12 education and know the often snail’s pace of even local curriculum decisions, having 35 states adopt national curriculum standards in less than six months is just amazing.

The really big next step is figuring out how to implement these core standards into subject areas and individual classrooms.

Enter the curriculum specialists.

Curriculum developers and textbook companies are working overtime to have curriculum maps, lesson plans and textbooks developed to reflect those Common Core Standards — and have their materials adopted by the thousands of school districts that will need to implement the Common Core Standards.

According to an article in Education Week, the three big textbook companies — Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt — plan to have textbooks ready for adoption for fall 2011.

Those of us involved in scholastic journalism need to be on the watch to see how these Common Core Standards could impact journalism education.

What is the discussion of the Common Core Standards in the schools you are mentoring in?