Governor Scott's Statements on Lee County & Common Core Continue to Strain Credibility

In video obtained by Javier Manjerres of Shark Tank, Governor Scott repeats his oft heard deflection and dissembling on the very controversial Common Core standards and tests. Here are several statements that are arguable at best and completely strain credibility at worst:

"I don't want the federal government to run our education system.  So here's what we've done. About a year ago we opted out of PARCC, which is the national assessment test."

COMMENT He then opted the state into AIR, which is developing tests for the other national assessment, SBAC; has been involved with the federal government in data collection and other ways for years; admits Common Core is a national curriculum; is a behavioral and social engineering research organization; and promotes social and emotional learning and other controversial topics over academics. (See details).

"We said the federal government is not going to be data mining our students."

COMMENT This is particularly hard to swallow.  Scott and the Legislature doubled down on linking Florida's data statutes to FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), the dysfunctional federal privacy law gutted by the Obama administration and containing an entire section of regulations on collecting student data without parental consent.  (See analysis).  In addition, AIR, chosen by Scott's education commissioner for Florida's state Common Core test, is closely tied to the federal government and student data collection through its Center of the Analysis of Longitudinal Education Research (CALDER), even admitting that it is involved in mining the data of individual Florida students and teachers.

"...So we have Florida standards."

COMMENT - As we have extensively documented, many officials in the Florida Department of Education, Speaker Weatherford, and countless state and national media outlets have stated the truth changing 98 out of 11,000 (0.9%) standards and removing the name from statute does not produce real Florida standards. Florida is still teaching the Common Core standards.

"The Lee County School Board did the right thing when they changed their mind.  They have to look at the unintended consequences of their decision. You know, when they made those decisions, what is it going to do to their students? Are they going to be able to get into the best universities? Are they going to lose federal funding?..."

COMMENT The statement regarding universities is just absolutely incorrect.  There are alternatives in statute allowing students to take other tests besides the state mandated tests, and private and homeschooled students get into top universities all the time without taking those tests.  And with regard to federal funding, if he really meant that he doesn't "want the federal government to interfere in our education system," why doesn't he assert the state and local sovereignty afforded Florida via the Tenth Amendment and afforded the districts via Article IX, Section 4b of the Florida Constitution the way it was done with the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act?

Governor Scott remains locked in a very tight re-election race with Charlie Crist.  After spending $25 million on negative ads, the governor is ahead by about two percent which is still within the margin of error in the Real Clear Politics average.  A weak attempt to mollify Common Core critics by promising a review commission sometime in the distant future one day before the primary did not prevent him from losing 117,257 votes to two unknown, very underfinanced primary opponents, at least one of which opposed Common Core.  This was more votes than his margin of victory in 2010.  The governor continues to sacrifice the sovereignty of the state, the legislature, and school districts to the federal government and to alienate the base that elected him on a very important issue at his own political peril.

Posted in Political Aspects of Common Core. Tagged as Common Core, Governor Rick Scott, Lee County, state tests.


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