The Foundation for Florida’s Future and Foundation for Excellence in Education, influential and public supporters of shared English, literacy and math standards known as Common Core, won’t be present at three public meetings next week debating the standards.
That’s because staff will be at a two-day national education summit hosted by the nonprofits’ founder, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in Boston. The foundations’ biggest issue coincides with its biggest event.
Foundation spokeswoman Allison Aubuchon said staff would likely not attend the three three-hour meetings in Tampa, Davie and Tallahassee scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.
“While we wish we could be there personally, I don’t think we’ll actually have a team member on the ground.” Aubuchon said. “Our grassroots team has been encouraging folks to attend.”
Gov. Rick Scott asked the department to hold the hearings last month. Scott wants the public to present concerns about specific Common Core standards. Florida is one of 45 states which have adopted the standards, which outline what students should know in English and math at the end of each grade. Florida is transitioning to the standards now, which will be used in every grade starting next fall.
While Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and others have said they expect to make only minor changes to the standards, Common Core critics hope the hearings will accelerate building opposition to the standards. Those groups are planning to bring in national experts who helped create the standards and have testified against Common Core in other states.
Aubuchon said the foundation is organizing its grassroots network and encouraging those who support Common Core to attend the meetings and speak out.
“It’s always good to have opportunities for public input on our standards,” Aubuchon said. “I hope that part of the outcome is a broader awareness and discussion of the standards. The vast majority of Floridians (are) not aware of the transition.”