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Gov. Scott Defends Exiting Common Core Testing In Face of Criticism and Fact-Checks

| September 25, 2013

Goc. Rick Scott is taking directions from his tea party base on Common Core. (© FlaglerLive)

Goc. Rick Scott is taking directions from his tea party base on Common Core. (© FlaglerLive)

Gov. Rick Scott defended his decision to withdraw from tests linked to setting up a national set of educational standards, while a state lawmaker filed a bill addressing a common concern about the standards.

In his first public comments on the move, Scott on Tuesday explained why he ordered the Department of Education to stop managing the financial affairs of the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, of PARCC, which is developing the tests.

It was seen as a first step toward Florida trying to develop its own tests to measure student learning gains under the “Common Core” standards that Florida and almost four dozen other states have agreed to use.

Scott maintained his stance that using PARCC would allow the federal government to meddle in the state’s schools.

“If you look at it, it’s their entry point into having more involvement in our education system,” Scott told reporters. “I want to continue that focus on high standards, but we don’t need the federal government intruding in our lives.”

When pressed, Scott did not say specifically how he thought tests developed through a state-led initiative could be an instrument of federal intrusion, or cite an example of federal intrusion through PARCC. The group has received a $186 million federal grant for its work on the tests, but the state Department of Education has issued statements dismissing as a myth the idea of PARCC being used for federal control of education.

“The federal government does not have a hand in development of the aligned assessments pertaining to CCSS,” according to an undated document on the agency’s website. “There are two state consortia responsible for developing Common Core aligned assessments as well as some states that have developed their own assessment programs, such as Kentucky and New York.”

The document is entitled, “Demystifying the Movement: Answers to Common Myths about the Common Core State Standards.” (See below.)

During his press conference Tuesday, Scott also appeared to hedge when asked whether his logic could be used to get rid of the Common Core standards themselves.

“A lot of people want to say, is it ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Common Core, and that’s not the right way of looking at it,” he said. “It’s ‘yes’ to high standards — and we’re going to continue to have high standards and raise our standards, because that’s what’s going to pay off in a global economy — but we’re going to say ‘no,’ we’re going to continue to say ‘no’ to federal intrusion.”

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant issued a statement Tuesday lambasting Scott for the move.

“The bipartisan consensus around high standards and common-sense testing is strong, it is what Floridians want, and it is what Common Core provided,” she said. “But, like so many times before, Florida’s students, teachers, and parents are collateral damage of Rick Scott’s Tea Party pandering.”

Scott also faced some withering criticism from editorial boards. “The only thing worse than leaving the group designing the tests is opening the door to rejecting the Common Core State Standards themselves,” the Tampa Bay Times wrote. “Scott did just that by demanding that the state reject samples of writing and math courses aimed at helping implement the standards, calling for more public input and inviting changes to Common Core standards the state embraced several years ago. Scott insists he supports high education standards. But his actions Monday have nothing to do with improving public education and everything to do with politics — and they won’t satisfy tea party supporters who won’t rest until Florida rejects all of Common Core. Just last week, the state Board of Education reaffirmed its support for the Common Core Standards. Now the governor has signaled it’s fine to trash them.”

The Miami Herald wrote: “Unfortunately, tea party elements of the Republican Party have twisted Common Core and PARCC into some kind of federal assault on states’ rights, arguing that it’s another federal government ‘mandate,’ with Scott giving in to the misinformation. ” Instead of flexing his executive muscle and showing the kind of leadership Floridians would expect of one who purports to be an ‘Education Governor,’ Mr. Scott is talking namby-pamby about an executive order to change the hard work that has been done over several years.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, filed legislation to prevent schools from gathering biometric information about children without their parents’ consent. Some schools in the state have reportedly at least tested the use of biometric scans for security purposes, and opponents of Common Core have worried that it will lead to the collection of that kind of information.

Hukill said in a news release that the issue needs to be addressed because of schools collecting biometric information that could be used for such purposes as paying for lunches, recording attendance and boarding school buses.

“Students need to understand from an early age that protecting their personal data is important,” Hukill said in a statement. “Securing and protecting students’ personal data is a sensitive matter and we need to have procedures and safeguards in place.”

Supporters of Common Core have dismissed the idea that it will collect biometric information.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida, and FlaglerLive

Common Core Myths

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8 Responses for “Gov. Scott Defends Exiting Common Core Testing In Face of Criticism and Fact-Checks”

  1. Christopher V. says:

    Go Rick Go!

  2. Anita says:

    I would welcome input from the Federal Government and fail to see what conservatives are so afraid of other than a well-educated electorate. Our children, unlike those in Europe and parts of Asia are incapable of writing or speaking coherently in their “mother’ tongue, mystified by basic math skills even with the aid of handheld calculators, all ten fingers plus ten toes, and who think books are doorstops. Too many Boards of “Education” are in the job of banning books which might awaken awkward questions in young readers minds and/or of purchasing books written in ideological terms which fail to tell both sides of an issue. They people are best suited to jobs as political operatives, and couldn’t and shouldn’t be trusted to oversee any child’s education. The sad part is that most politicians and “leaders” are parents who can afford to send their children to the kind of schools which actually do provide their kids with the tools they need to become productive members of society even as they cynically deny a quality education to ALL American children. As for the under-served educationally, they need to be rescued by the Federal Government from people like Rick Scott and his supporters.

  3. A.S.F. says:

    For once, I agree with Christopher V.. This man must GO!

  4. Sherry Epley says:

    Very well said Anita and ASF!

    How are our future generations going to be educated enough to compete for jobs on a world wide scale if we cannot come together as a nation to develop the best “National” PUBLIC education system on the planet? Are our children doomed to sit in an interview trying to impress an employer in Hong Kong or California with their credentials from the best darned religious/private/home school in the state of Florida?

    The world is shrinking rapidly and our individual states are becoming inconsequential. We need to come together as a Nation on many, many things . . . but it all begins with EDUCATION!

  5. Obama 2013 says:

    Again more GOP crap.

    Keep the middle class dumb unless W , Romney or Jeb implement it. Obama likes Common Core but he also likes Golf, Football , basketball , respecting his wife and daughters and having dogs as pets, does that mean everyone that voted for Romney and Paul going to start new hobbies and hate their spouses and chidren?

    Just like ObamacareRomneycare, the main party that pushed these ideas of Common core was a Republican.


    Also Bill Gates gave 100’s of millions of dollars to the program of his own money because he said he had a hard time finding American employees to meet the demands he needed at Microsoft. That is what I call a real American.

    Also do you know the millions of dollars and training that is involved right now that would have to be dumped if this isn’t completed . Who is going to give that back to the Schools, tax payers and teachers that have paid out of their own budgets and pockets for this program. I guess RICH Scott forgot about that too.

    Is anyone else tired of our elected officials using our children as pawns in the political game? They want to try and protect any life that might be born but if they are in a family that has issues (money or personal) they have their education and benefits as an American cut to fund more 1% tax cuts. Honestly I am tired of the GOP and the way they handle themselves. I didn’t Vote for John McCain but I did vote for Jeb Bush . What happened to that Party? Where are the Regan’s and Bush SRs? We need Stronger leaders not CEO’s the commit Fraud vs the Government they say they are trying to “save” us from.

    Please if you believe in Common Core call your Congressperson and Senators and tell them to fight for our Future. Bill Nelson already has been contacted for my household.

    I posted this once and I will post it again because in the words of The Rock, it lays the Smackdown on the lies and BS the Tea party GOP is pulling out on Common core.

    Here are some great links to show the facts vs myths of common core

    Also a great blog from someone who was on the fence that found it it actually a good thing

    Here is some good points

    I expected to find passages in text books stating the founding fathers were a bunch of racist, sexist, homophobes. I expected to find brainwashing material telling our kids the Constitution is too antiquated to be relevant.

    What I found is there are no textbooks at all. There’s no propaganda material. Common Core is not a curriculum at all, rather it’s a set of basic standards each graduating senior needs to have mastered by graduation. It’s not something that was mandated by President Obama. It was commissioned by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Doesn’t sound very federal to me.

    I’ve been hard-pressed to find any specific objections to Common Core from its opponents other than the fear of a federal takeover of our schools. That’s a legitimate fear, mind you, but I see no evidence of it. One of the rare specifics cited is they claim Common Core will de-emphasize classic literature like To Kill a Mockingbird. First of all, there’s no evidence of that but we’ll cover that in a moment. But I want to make a point here and this is central to the whole argument.

    Everyone remembers reading To Kill a Mockingbird and The Grapes of Wrath way back in the day in high school, right? Everybody read those, all across the country. There was no federal mandate to read them so how did we all end up reading the same books? Government conspiracy? No, there was a set of literature standards that school boards all across the country adopted. There has to be some commonality in order for students to do well on tests like the ACT and SAT. Plus, agreements on what constitutes classic literature simply emerge as common knowledge. That doesn’t mean Harper Lee was forced on local school boards as part of some federal government conspiracy.

    What’s ironic is Common Core supposedly puts more emphasis on The Federalist Papers than it does on the so-called literary classics. I can’t believe people are actually complaining about that one. If I had to choose I’d much rather my kids study Madison than Steinbeck but Common Core doesn’t force such choices. In the words of Common Core itself the standards include “classic myths and stories from around the world, foundational U.S. documents, seminal works of American literature, and the writings of Shakespeare. The standards appropriately defer the many remaining decisions about what and how to teach to states, districts, and schools.”

    I don’t know about you but it seems the study of our foundational documents has been woefully lacking. Common Core fixes that. Another thing Common Core is designed to do is to narrow the shotgun approach to education a bit and concentrate on taking a deeper look into the more important things kids need to know. It also encourages critical thinking. That’s something else that’s been lacking.

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