Putting Education Reform To The Test

Common Core Critics “Deeply Disappointed” By Florida Hearings

The Common Core hearings planned for next week are not everything critics had wanted.

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The Common Core hearings planned for next week are not everything critics had wanted.

Florida’s Common Core hearings aren’t until next week, but the criticism has already started.

In September, Gov. Rick Scott asked Florida to sever its financial ties to a consortium of states–the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC–that’s developing a new assessment based on Common Core standards. At the time, Scott said he wanted to listen to parents’ concerns and hold town hall meetings on the Common Core.

Those meetings have been scheduled for next week in three different cities.

But the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition is concerned that Common Core critics won’t get a fair hearing. Dr. Karen Effrem, a co-founder of the FSCC, sent a letter to Scott and Florida’s education leaders outlining her concerns:

  • Commissioner Pam Stewart has made statements to the press that “while the Department of Education plans to hold community town hall meetings to hear from the public about the pros and cons of the new Common Core State Standards, she [Stewart] expects little changes in the curriculum as a result.” (Emphasis added).

  • Statements were made by the commissioner to other opponent groups indicate that parents will have a mere three minutes per specific standard to make their concerns known, forcing them to wade through hundreds of pages of standards documents and become pedagogical experts in order to advocate for their children, mirroring the same intimidating process put forth by Senator John Legg in his call for input.

  • The planned format will not allow for parents and experts to discuss what is missing from the standards, poor organization, and other problems.

  • Each hearing is scheduled to be only three hours long, which will be inadequate for both the public and experts to testify about the many flaws with the standards themselves, much less the very important related concerns regarding data mining, psychological manipulation and testing, etc.

You can read the whole letter here.

UPDATE: Sandra Stotsky, a former associate commissioner of education in Massachusetts and a Common Core critic, said in a statement she is also unhappy with the format. She says parents should be able to discuss the standards, but will only be able to speak for three minutes:

Although Governor Scott requested meetings at which parents could express their concerns, (Education Commissioner Pam Stewart) deliberately chose a method that in effect prevents discussion and an open forum.  By telling parents that they can comment only one by one, and only on the particular standards in Common Core, in a 3-hour period of time, she is in effect spitting in their faces. Parents can also send in their individual comments by computer, a method that also prevents discussion.  If this is how a Department of Education treats the parents of the children whose education this Department is supposed to improve, then there is no reason for Florida parents to support the existence of such a Department.  It should be abolished by referendum.


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