Putting Education Reform To The Test

Common Core Critics: This Is Not A Negotiation

The audience at Tuesday's Common Core hearing in Tampa.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

The audience at Tuesday's Common Core hearing in Tampa.

If there’s a single point to take away from this week’s Common Core forums held around the state, it was made by David Knop in Davie.

Knop is a father of two who doesn’t like the changes he’s seen in his kids schooling.

“We’re not here to find out what it (Common Core) is about,” Knop said. “We already know what it’s about — we’re against it.

“We’re just asking you to listen and don’t implement it.”

You can watch Knop’s comments here (he starts speaking about 94 minutes in).

Gov. Rick Scott requested the three public forums to “to obtain public input…to identify any opportunities to strengthen or risks for federal intrusion in Florida’s standards.”

But critics didn’t come to Tampa, Davie and Tallahassee meetings to tinker with or improve the standards — they came to bury them. There are some Common Core critics working with Scott’s staff on specific concerns, but the majority of critics are offering the standards no quarter.

Polling shows most of the general public hasn’t tuned in yet, so popular opinion is unlikely to provide politicians much cover.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says she will now review the hours of testimony and thousands of comments submitted electronically and send some recommendations to the State Board of Education.

But at some point public forums, changing names or rebranding the standards, symbolic votes and other moves kicking the can down the road will stop being effective.

Someone (Scott? Lawmakers?) may have to deliver some bad news about Common Core. Either schools will scrap three years of work and preparation. Or the critics will be told they’re not getting their way.

It will be an election issue in 2014 from Scott down to school board races.

Florida’s decision, as always in education, will have big ramifications for the Common Core debate around the country.


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