Yesterday the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, a statewide coalition representing dozens of organizations and hundreds of thousands of Florida parents and citizens, sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott with copies to Commissioner Stewart, Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand, and the legislature. The letter outlined their disappointment with statements from Commissioner Stewart and plans for the hearings indicating that the "plan is to leave the standards essentially in place with a few cosmetic changes up to the superficial 15% that Florida declined to do when adopting them in 2010, as well as choosing PARCC, which your commissioner has stated in documents is still on the table, or some other national 'off the shelf' test aligned to the Common Core national standards."
Common Core is an initiative by the U.S. Department of Education of a standards-based education reform in most states of the Union. Many states who initially welcomed the standards are now interested in reversing their decision as common core is not what was originally promised. Florida Governor Rick Scott has initiated public hearings this month after getting pressure from parents across the state upset with him in allowing the federal standards into Florida. The hearings will be held Oct. 15-17 in Tampa, Davie and Tallahassee. Late last month, Scott expressed a desire for State Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand to end the State of Florida's association with Common Core and have Florida set its own guidelines. Scott's main opponent in the 2014 Gubernatorial race, Adrian Wyllie, has also come out against common core in a video early this past summer. Additionally, last month, the Libertarian Party of Florida has officially come out against common core as has the Libertarian Party of Collier County in August and the Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County in September.
"The plan for these hearings and the statements by the commissioner are reminiscent of the manipulative practices employed during the education accountability summit," said Randy Osborne, director of education for Florida Eagle Forum and Heartland Research. "These actions combined with the deceptive radio ads promoted by former Governor Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education, a foundation funded by the corporate interests that stand to profit immensely from Common Core at the expense of our children, are an insult to Floridians and an assault on our liberties."
"All of this evidence that these hearings are meant to be manipulated to the pre-determined outcome of continuing to ram Common Core down the throats of Florida families and citizens, as was done during the education summit, is a major betrayal of the trust of Floridians," said Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch and a co-founder of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition. "Our statewide coalition calls upon Governor Scott and the legislature to stop protecting the wealthy and powerful special corporate and foundation interests at the expense of our children. We demand open and transparent public hearings now and support of Representative Mayfield's HB 25 to completely stop funding and implementation of Common Core until much more information is available regarding academic quality, cost and data privacy. HB 25 is the true implementation of concepts in Governor Scott's order and letters."