Forty-five states, including Florida, were all ready to implement the Common Core standards in public schools until a few factions got all riled up about it this year. Gov. Rick Scott abruptly abandoned the plan, and chaos erupted in the education system.
Common Core standards have been in development for years and aim to "clearly communicate what is expected of students at each grade level," according to the Common Core website. Florida adopted these standards in 2010 and teamed up with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) to create new standardized tests that are supposed to replace the FCAT in 2014. Even though the switch to new standards and new testing was in the works before he took office, Rick Scott tried taking credit for all these changes in 2012.
What a difference a year makes.
Supporters of Common Core say that the standards are harmless minimums that create an important national standard that positions students in the U.S. to be competitive with other nations. On the right, though, the Tea Party crowd opposes the standards because it sees the federal government imposing on what should be an issue for states and local school districts. On the left, some teachers fear that the standards give governments too much control over classrooms, and that they will be micromanaged. Other fears that have been kicked around include socialization of education, data mining, computer testing, problems with unions, and reading lists with books that address incest.
In September, Rick Scott suddenly switched gears, issuing an executive order declaring that "Floridians will not accept Federal government intrusion into the academic standards..." He ordered the state education commissioner to basically start over in figuring out how to handle student evaluations, student data security, and teacher evaluations.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart has to submit recommendations by December 31 -- which is a lot, considering she just took over the job after Scott's previous education director, pro-charter-school Tony Bennett, resigned after being accused of fixing grades to please his corporate masters in Indiana.
See also: Florida Education Commissioner to Resign
Also as part of his executive order, Scott ordered three hearings to get public input on Common Core.
One of those meetings takes place Wednesday in Davie. Concerned parties can also submit comments via firstname.lastname@example.org and through the website flstandards.org. All comments must be submitted by October 31.
Here are the deets on the meeting:
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 5 to 8 p.m. Broward College - Davie Campus Bailey Concert Hall - Building 4 3501 SW Davie Road, Davie
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