Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

Common Core Opponents Respond To Former Florida GOP Chairmen

Opponents of Common Core standards have written a letter responding to five former Republican Party of Florida chairmen.

J. Paxson Reyes / Flickr

Opponents of Common Core standards have written a letter responding to five former Republican Party of Florida chairmen.

Earlier this week we published an email sent to Florida Republicans urging their support for Common Core State Standards fully adopted by Florida and 44 other states. The letter was signed by five former Republican Party of Florida chairmen, including American Conservative Union chairman Al Cardenas.

Common Core opponents have written a rebuttal.

“It is quite astonishing to see supposedly conservative Republicans argue that a centralized ‘solution’ to education problems is better than one crafted at the state and local level,” Jane Robbins with the American Principles Project wrote. “But that’s the case with the letter written by former Republican leaders in Florida, urging the GOP to support the Common Core national school standards.”

Below is the letter from Jane Robbins with the American Principles Project. You can read the full point-by-point response to the former party chairmen here.

It is quite astonishing to see supposedly conservative Republicans argue that a centralized “solution” to education problems is better than one crafted at the state and local level. But that’s the case with the letter written by former Republican leaders in Florida, urging the GOP to support the Common Core national school standards.

The leaders’ letter repeats the talking points advanced by Common Core proponents across the country. But repeating something over and over doesn’t make it true.

First, the Common Core process wasn’t “state-led.” The standards were created by private trade associations in Washington, D.C. (lavishly financed by the Gates Foundation), and imposed on the states when the U.S. Department of Education (USED) offered Race to the Top money to cash-strapped states that would adopt the standards. And even if the process had been state-led, why should California and New York have a vote in what Florida children are taught?

Second, the claim that the standards won’t dictate curriculum is specious. The point of standards is to drive curriculum. As Bill Gates said, “[I]dentifying common standards is not enough. We’ll know we’ve succeeded when the curriculum and the tests are aligned to those standards.” Especially when the national PARCC test (of which Florida is a leader) is expressly using federal money to develop “instructional models” – and when what’s on the test inevitably dictates what will be taught in the classroom – the curriculum will be driven by Common Core. State and local “flexibility” will be limited to choosing one Common Core textbook over another Common Core textbook.

Similarly, teachers will have to adopt certain instruction methods regardless of their effectiveness. Elementary teachers must use recycled “fuzzy math” approaches that don’t work as well as the standard algorithms. Geometry teachers must abandon the traditional Euclidean method for an experimental approach. English teachers will no longer be allowed to devote most of their time to classic literature, but instead will have to focus on “informational text” such as technical manuals.

And teachers (and parents) who object to this will have no recourse within the state – all power to revise the standards will reside with anonymous interests in Washington.

And consider the data-collection problem. The Republican leaders’ claim that USED receives only aggregate, not student-level, data is simply incorrect. The cooperative agreement between PARCC and USED requires PARCC to give the federal government any student-level data it receives from the testing of Florida students. (Even if Florida escapes PARCC, USED is becoming increasingly aggressive about demanding personal student data in conjunction with other grant programs.)

And because USED has gutted federal student-privacy law, it can share this data with literally anyone in the world. Given the near-passage of a truly abominable student-data bill this past legislative session, Florida parents should be especially alarmed about the privacy issue.

Finally, Common Core will ultimately engulf private schools and homeschoolers, if the SAT, ACT, and GED are changed to align with Common Core (as has been promised/threatened). School “choice” will be snuffed out before it ever really began.

These issues should have been debated before Common Core was adopted. They weren’t, because the proponents wanted no debate. But Floridians can still make their voices heard and take back control over their students’ education.

 

Comments

  • http://grumpyelder.com/ Grumpy

    As several people have pointed out to me privately, the wording in Thrashers letter sounded like it had been written by Bush’s people. It’s very similar to the wording on a propaganda site Bush and the Fordham Foundation put up called Conservatives for Higher Standards

    There’s nothing Conservative about the Standards – They were authored by David Coleman – Back when Obama and Bill Ayers were sitting on the Woods foundation, they were funneling money to Coleman..

    Think about it, Thrasher, Jeb Bush and friends are pushing something written by a guy Bill Ayers funded..

    Jane Roberts did a great job in her reply up there, but she only scratched the surface.. It would take a lot more than a short blog to point out all half truths, distortions and lies Common Core proponents, like Bush and Thrasher, have been using to sell the product over the last few years..

    Common Core serves three purposes..

    It establishes a huge birth to death dossier on every American- that will include everything from birth weight and blood type to their relationships and personal interests.. Not to mention a whole lot of stuff in between

    It allows a small group of (as Jeb Bush calls them) “Educational Investors” a chance to get their paws on a perpetual cash flow of taxpayer dollars.. A lot of Taxpayer Dollars

    It sets the stage for government to use schools as indoctrination centers- You can see evidence of this in the recently exposed Texas CSCOPE program- Put together by many of the same people who are implementing Common Core..

    There is no proven benefit to students, it’s an experiment
    There’s no benefit to taxpayers, in Florida the costs are listed “Indeterminate”

    It could easily over time allow government to use the data bases to ‘help’ people make life’s choices.. A concept that’s already been floated by Bill Gates

  • Robomom

    When is “conservative” NOT conservative? When Al Cardenas, Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Marco Rubio, et. al. are involved! Federal control of education (Thanks to Jimmy Carter) has led to a steep decline in our international performance standards. The remedy? More local control, teacher control and parental involvement. Educators understand that the closer to the local level education is, the more effective it is. Shouldn’t our teachers and parents have the first say about what and how they want their children/grandchildren being taught? Instead, the elitists are putting profits first (Bill Gates, Jeb Bush, etc.) and our children are being used as guinea pigs in an experimental deeply flawed educational takeover.

  • manderso

    Yes, I’m sure most people would rather follow Jane Robbins than listen to Bill Gates.

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