Fact Checking the Bush Foundations' Rebuttals

June 26, 2013

Former governor Jeb Bush's two foundations, The Foundation for Florida's Future and the Foundation for Excellence in Education, are constantly putting out rebuttals or their version of "Myths vs Facts" sheets for every anti-Common Core piece that is published.  The problem is that it their articles that are full of inaccuracies and myths.  What follows is a side by side comparison of one of their articles published on May 31st, 2013 next to Dr. Effrem's repsonses.


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The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition Response to the Foundation for Excellence in Education
What You Need to Know About Common Core State Standards
The Foundation for Excellence in Education "Myth vs. Fact" article, May 31, 2013   Florida Stop Common Core Coalition response by Dr. Karen Effrem, President of Education Liberty Watch.
Common Core State Standards are simple, clear and rigorous academic expectations. How can this be known?  These standards have never been tested or used anywhere.  There is no evidence that they will improve performance.
The standards are benchmarked to high international standards to guarantee that American students are prepared to succeed in the 21st century global economy.   The developers have rolled back their claim that they are" benchmarked" to high international standards, to saying the standards are "informed" by other countries, without providing data.
To date, more than 45 states have voluntarily adopted Common Core State Standards. Governors of 45 states "voluntarily" adopted the standards in order to receive desperately needed funds from Race to the Top during a severe recession and relief from onerous No Child Left Behind regulations.
Polk County was piloting a new school bus safety program for students that involved eye scanning.  What does this have to do with Common Core some may ask? Nothing. While the standards have nothing to do with iris scanning, federally required data collection systems will link test results, teacher data and 300-400 points of other data, including biometric data like iris scans.
The Common Core Standards lend themselves easily to voluntary adoption by charter schools, private and faith-based schools and home schools, these entities will continue to have maximum flexibility on how and what they teach their kids. Florida Commissioner Tony Bennett, who lost his re-election in Indiana due to his support for Common Core, and Florida Governor Rick Scott have called for private school students who receive vouchers to take the Common core tests, thus imposing the Common Core standards on private schools.
A Thomas B. Fordham Institute study showed that the Standards are superior to standards currently in use in 39 states in math and 37 states in English. For 33 states, the new standards are superior in both math and reading. Research by the Brookings Institution found there was no correlation between the quality of a state's standards as rated by the Fordham Institute and student academic achievement.  Even so, Fordham rated Florida's standards & Common Core roughly the same, so how will Common Core improve anything?
The standards place a greater emphasis on the reading of more difficult-to-understand "original texts," such as President Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" or Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail," creating a greater understanding of more rigorous material. Teachers are directed to teach the Gettysburg Address without context "in order to level the playing field for all."  In that lesson, one of our major historical documents was used to inculcate social justice as being more important than our history.  Are those the priorities we want for our children?
Common Core State Standards are not a national mandate or a national curriculum.   States retain full authority for implementation, preventing the possibility of a federal takeover.  States can withdraw from the standards at any time. Developed by the federally funded private groups, the standards are copyrighted and cannot be altered.  The federally funded national tests and model curriculum will determine curriculum choices.  If the states can "withdraw from the standards at any time," why are members of this foundation going all over the country urging legislatures not to do so or pressuring local Republican units in Florida to not adopt anti-Common Core resolutions?

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