While state officials are emphatic that a new test will be in place for 2014-15, the Times’ Gradebook blog reports at least one Democratic lawmaker is calling for a testing “pause” as the state completes its transition to Common Core. Journalists should stay on top of this debate, closely track the state’s progress toward a new test—and monitor for signs of problems in the years to come.

What’s the cost?

In a separate article, the AJC’s Wayne Washington concluded it was impossible to know for sure how much moving to Common Core standards is going to cost school districts overall, since instructional material is frequently replaced in any case. But in her reporting, Vogell found that being involved in the testing consortia “has taxed state departments and the testing companies involved, and complaints have flared about cost.”

In his column for the Tallahassee Democrat, Flemming wrote that the state, by going it alone, may actually save a little bit of money, even while a testing company—most likely education behemoth Pearson—picks up another job.

Once the contract is handed out, reporters should check to see if that pans out. And any calculation of state spending should account for what Florida spent as part of the consortium until last week. Has that money now been wasted?

Education policy coverage is complex and it’s often difficult to bring it down to the classroom level. But tackling these questions will help Florida parents and taxpayers better understand what Scott and the state government is doing.

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Susannah Nesmith is a Miami-based freelance writer and the faculty adviser to Barry University's student newspaper, The Barry Buccaneer. Follow her on Twitter @susannahnesmith.