Florida

Putting Education Reform To The Test

At Scott’s Education Summit, A Common Core Counter-Revolt At Table 1

Florida School Boards Association director Wayne Blanton, Miami-Dade Superintendet Alberto Carvalho, and state Sen. Bill Montford debate why they are debating Common Core State Standards.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Florida School Boards Association director Wayne Blanton, Miami-Dade Superintendet Alberto Carvalho, and state Sen. Bill Montford debate why they are debating Common Core State Standards.

Table 1 was not going to play along.

The organizers of Gov. Rick Scott’s education summit had broken the three-dozen attendees into groups and asked them to write “vision statements” about the Common Core State Standards. The groups would pick and choose their favorite statements

But Table 1 – where two superintendents, the president of the PTA, the head of the Florida School Boards Association, a union leader and state Sen. Bill Montford were seated – thought the exercise was busy work.

It had been three years since Florida adopted Common Core State Standards, which outline what students should know in math and English language arts at the end of each grade. Florida is one of 45 states that have fully adopted the new standards.

In the meantime, Indiana had put implementation of the standards on hold, and other states had second thoughts about the standards. In Florida, too, critics have complained that the standards reduced local control over education and would not improve schools.

But Table 1 was unmoved. Despite complaints from those on the political right and left, the standards were a done deal.

Why were they wasting their time, Table 1 asked?

“I’d rather spend time on other issues,” said Bay County school superintendent Bill Husfelt. “This has already been decided.”

“I think this job is about addressing the naysayers and placating to them,” Husfelt said of the vision statement exercise. “I believe that’s what we’re sitting here doing right now.”

Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho agreed. The task reduced the amount of time left to discuss other important matters, such as changes to the state’s formula for grading schools or what standardized test should replace the FCAT. Carvalho was cooking up his own plan for rewriting the school grading formula.

The standards are acceptable to everyone but members of the “radicalized” right and left, he said.

“Anytime those people agree on anything,” he said, “the rest of us, the common sense people, should stay away.”

In the end, Table 1 agreed on a simple statement that accepted the standards and dismissed the controversy surrounding them: “The current standards are appropriate and acceptable.”

Across the room, Common Core critic Laura Zorc said the morning session on the standards went about as well as she expected.

“They’re not even willing to listen to problems that we as parents see with the standards,” said Zorc, who felt outmanned at the summit. “We have two wolves and a lamb and they’ve already decided what’s for dinner.”

But Zorc said she would bring up her concerns with the lawmakers attending the summit.

“Parents are not going to go away just because we have a panel of 35 members here today that say that we’ve already made the decision,” she said, “because the decision is still going to be left up to the parents once we have the opportunity to make it to the polls coming up this next election.”

Comments

  • Debbie

    Good Job Laura!!!! Remind the parents they have the power at home and at the ballot box.

  • g5club

    As a parent, you are on-the-spot Laura! You are doing a great job!!

    Not every law maker or future candidate is supportive of Common Core. Parents are willing to vote outside the party lines to get rid of Common Core. Those who are in support of the ridiculous CC standards are going to lose their jobs! We are taking names and spreading the word.

    On a side note- I bet NOT one educator or law maker in support of Common Core has taken the high-stakes testing involved. I challenge EACH and EVERY one of them to take the CC high stakes tests and then publish their results so we can all see how they did!!!!

  • Bryan Bouton

    This summit is nothing but a farce; the waste of time that is happening in Clearwater is so egregious that the Governor himself will not attend…YET, we have two members of PEN (a pseudo-organization dedicated to union busting and school privatization) members of the legislature (most of whom voted FOR the mess we are in) and folks from Jeb Bush’s foundation to whore out education…so is it any wonder that the 5 or so participants that actually care for students are nearly as overwhelmed and oppressed as a teacher who worked for Michelle Rhee? This sham needs to be seen for what it is and not for what it portends to be…wake up Florida, before the greed-head ward heelers end up disposing of an entire generation of our young people and driving dedicated teachers out of the profession and leaving the fates of our students to those “two cereal boxtops and a soup label plus $4500″ teachers of TFA who couldn’t find their butt with a searchlight, roadmap, and Sherpa…much less teach a class of teenagers.

  • waytotheright

    Scott is more in tune with the important issues like outlawing glass pipes.

  • ionNMB

    The decision had been made to adopt the Common Core Standards. Why? How are they better? Where have they been implemented successfully?

  • dan

    Common Core is a United Nations NWO communist agenda, Just follow the money. Also educate yourselves on Dewey, Skinner, Bloom and the rest of the behavior modification nut bags! The were all Marxist lovers!

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