Congratulations and thanks to all the candidates, whether they won or lost, for their great efforts in the Florida primary. We are especially pleased and thankful for their strong efforts in the realm of education to stand for academic excellence, parental rights and local control and against federal overreach, mindless testing tyranny, data mining, and psychological profiling. Education in general and specifically, the Common Core system was a very important issue in the just completed Florida primary. Regardless of their records, politicians clamored to sound pro-parent and to portray themselves as anti-Common Core. Our grassroots voter guides were an attempt to separate the rhetoric from the records. We thank you for reading and distributing them. We thank our partners and allies at The Tea Party Network, Liberty First, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and the Florida Citizens' Alliance for all of their tremendous grassroots work with ratings, endorsements, forums, and interaction on Common Core and other important issues. However, education was not the only issue on the ballot yesterday. There was much money and many competing interests on a whole range of issues involved, of which the pro-Common Core Tallahassee and corporate establishment was only one, albeit significant, part. Yet despite the massive funding arrayed against us and our partners, we believe that these rating and all of our work together made an important difference in these races.Here is a brief recap of results for the races we evaluated:Senate District 17 Winner Mayfield: This race was a stellar example of how courage, integrity, authentic efforts against Common Core, and grassroots support can win elections against great odds. Rep. Debbie Mayfield has been the standard bearer in Florida against the invasive and ineffective Common Core system for the last three years, often standing alone against the special interest groups and the education establishment in her own party and Read more
Former Governor Jeb Bush's foundation and all three gubernatorial candidates have put out statements on high stakes testing. These tests are related to the implementation of Common Core, renamed as the Florida Standards.As the tsunami of opposition to the developmentally inappropriate, invasive and expensive high stakes testing scheme associated with Common Core continues to build, Jeb Bush's foundation is running for cover and trying to back off some of the tests. Executive Director Patricia Levesque wrote a letter posted on Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education website that first tries to defend all of the testing: Schools have the freedom to teach however they think is best. But standardized tests ensure schools teach all children to the same high expectations. Without them, history shows some schools set lower expectations for some students. And we shouldn't have a system that discriminates. (Emphasis in original)
The problem is that there is little evidence historically that statewide standards and tests mandated by the federal government have worked. to improve achievement or close the achievement gap. Despite spending $2 trillion dollars at the federal level, student achievement has remained stagnant and the achievement gap is essentially unchanged:
Other research by Neal McCluskey of Cato reveals that the US does both better and worse on international comparisons than nations with national education standards. Research by Dr. Chris Tienken of Seton Hall University shows that the US leads the world in innovation and entrepreneurialism without national standards.Levesque later admits that excessive testing is a problem and throws a bone to parents: While I strongly believe in tests, I agree there is such a thing as too many tests...Tests need to serve a purpose and not simply take up valuable classroom time. It's refreshing to see that some districts are reviewing their local tests. And we would encourage Read more
Lake County mothers are continuing to take up the challenge of explaining to Governor Scott the very real dangers of Common Core and the distress to their children. Here are some photos:
Christine Morris Magnifico was at one of Governor Scott's campaign stops in Lake County showing him second grade homework biased toward global warming and the following letter from a third grader to his teacher: Particularly sad are the last three sentences that say:
"Also, when ever I'm on a test and I need help, she mostly tells me the answer. It makes me feel not smart. I feel unteachable and a failure."
While not presented to the governor, here is a picture of another very sad note written by a young child suffering the cinfusion, despair, and loss of the joy of learning caused by Common Core to his/her mother.
Here is a set of quotes from parents and teachers at a Palm Beach Post article from a meeting of the Palm Beach County School Board to listen to concerns about the Common Core/Florida Standards:
Hours to prep for computerized testing of kindergartners. "I watched a student suffer for over an hour. They had no idea how to work the computer mouse." Five teachers, working one-on-one with students got only 10 of 120 students done in one school day. "That night I went home and cried." Chris White, teacher at a Title 1 elementary school Children don't know the language what's 'drag and drop' to a child who's not worked on a computer? . The books were designed to go with one test, we're using another. Karla Yurick, 5th grade math teacher"I can't sign on. This just crashed. I can't highlight." things heard in one teacher's middle school classroom when students attempt online testing."They're actually calling this Common Core disorder," says parent Tammi Haber. She adds "Solving a simple math problem in 15 steps. What's the point of that? ""I was never tested and I was just fine," parent."Every single day my little boy comes home: I'm Read more
The Gallup poll that we reported back in August continues to show that support for Common Core is breaking down. There has been 7% more negative views since an April poll and 2% fewer positive views for a swing of 9% against the standards: Parents of U.S. public school students in grades K-12 are about evenly divided over the Common Core State Standards. Thirty-five percent view them negatively and 33% view them positively, while another third aren't familiar with them or don't have an opinion. This reflects a slight shift since April, when parents were slightly more positive (35%) than negative (28%).
Opposition has really solidified among Republican parents, while support among Democrat parents is described as "tepid."
The majority of Republican parents -- 58% -- now hold a negative view of Common Core, up from 42% in April, and leaving just 19% viewing it positively. Additionally, significantly more Republicans now have a very negative view of Common Core than a somewhat negative view, 35% vs. 23%......Meanwhile, Democratic parents remain in favor of Common Core by about 2-to-1, with 48% viewing it positively and 23% negatively, similar to their views in April. However, unlike Republican opposition, which is relatively strong, Democrats' support is tepid, with most supporters saying they have a somewhat rather than a very positive view of it, 37% vs. 11%.
Gallup then notes that Common Core is playing a huge role in governors' races across the nation, mentioning both Rick Scott and Jeb Bush in Florida and the trouble they are both in due to Common Core:
Common Core has been an issue in many of the gubernatorial elections taking place this November, the outcomes of which could affect how the standards are implemented -- if at all. In New York and Connecticut, the rollout of Common Core has become an issue for the Democratic governors who supported it, and has given some ammunition to their Republican challengers who oppose the initiative. Read more
#StopJebNow Congratulations! We are winning! Any talk of standards and testing has become radioactive in the Florida governor's race. While the new 30 second ad by former Governor Jeb Bush cut for Governor Scott mentions education, any discussion of Common Core or even "high standards" is conspicuously absent. We are sure the Scott campaign pleaded with Bush to go nowhere near that controversial subject. If Bush can't even mention his favorite topic in his home state, hopefully this sends a strong message to him that he will have little support even in Florida as he contemplates a 2016 presidential run. Read more
Debbie Higgenbotham, homeschooling mother of seven children and anti-Common Core warrior via the group Florida Parents R.I.S.E. which she co-founded, recently met Governor Scott on a campaign stop and was able to tell him how dangerous his refusal to deal honestly with Common Core is for children and for his re-election:
I had the opportunity to meet the Governor on one of his campaign stops at a pizzeria in St. John's County. Since we home school our kids, it was a great opportunity for a field trip to experience what it means to be involved and educated on issues that concern our state. We were expecting to see a large crowd surrounding the building when we drove up but to our surprise there was hardly anyone there. Finding a parking space was fairly easy. With lots of smiling faces we made our way to two booths in the restaurant. My good friends, Dru Faulk and Leanne King, were already there and getting acquainted with the other people who were there.After the speech was done we were one of the first to join the Governor for a quick picture. The Governor was awed at the fact that these were all my children and that there were 7 of them. And also how well behaved they were. He made some small talk with the kids. He bent down to have a better conversation with them which I thought was genuine. He even held the baby who was reaching for him at one point. As we stood there posing for pictures and chatting I started my plea. I started by saying that we were a home schooling family and he seemed impressed by that. He made the comment that he is trying to convince his daughter to home school his grand-kids. I was stunned by that but encouraged him to keep talking with her about it. But I revealed why we were home schooling, and that was because of Common Core. I was working hard with everyone I could to get rid of Common Core and the federal mandates from our schools. Until then, none of my children will return to any classroom.
I handed him a Read more
A recent article chided people who are upset with Governor Scott about Common Core, the deceptive rebrand to the Florida Standards and the lack of real effort against federal overreach. The author wrote: Yet critics blame Scott for issues that are beyond his purview! For example, it's clear that Governor Scott objects to Common Core through his 2013 Executive Order against a curriculum funded by federal non-profits. Using strong words against the Federal government's un-constitutional authority to unilaterally set academic standards for Florida Scott states: "Floridians will not accept government intrusion into the academic standards that are taught to our students." Yet dissenters vow to disregard Scott's successes and are prepared to walk-the-gang-plank for a single issue that has already swung towards Florida state and local standards. The voting public is well aware that Charlie Crist is salivating over this Common Core confrontation and waiting in the wings to re-install the federal Obama/Crist Common Core standards.
What have these "strong words" accomplished? Nothing! What successes have there been? None! Despite Scott saying that " Common Core is out in Florida" we are still in Common Core, deceptively called the Florida Standards by his administration. This has been admitted by Commissioner Stewart, Speaker Weatherford and Jeb Bush. We still have an invasive, expensive test with a pledge to give all of the testing data that include "mindsets" to the federal government. This test is made by a company that is far more into testing behavior and attitudes than academics and admits to data mining individual Florida students and teachers.If Crist were to win and "re-install the federal Obama/Crist Common Core standards," no one would to be able to tell a difference, because that is what we have now.Instead of standing up to the federal government, Governor Scott even said that Lee County was right to rescind its vote to opt out of state tests because Read more
Sunshine State News just reported that former Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio will be holding a fundraiser for Governor Rick Scott on October 24th as he campaigns for re-election. Reporter Jeff Henderson stated that even though conservatives disagree with Bush on Common Core, that "Scott could have no better people to beat the drums to get Republicans out than Bush and Rubio."Given recent events, we would question that assertion where Bush is concerned. When Bush recently campaigned for Scott, he all but admitted that the Scott administration's elaborate ruse of pretending to care what the people of Florida thought about the standards and changing only 0.9% of them under the deceptive moniker of the Florida Standards was a sham. Bush called the changes "not substantial." That bit of campaign support from Bush has not helped Scott break out of the polling deadlock he is in with Charlie Crist. In fact, both Crist and Scott received low marks for honesty in a recent Quinnipiac poll. The latest Survey USA poll has Scott down 6% to Crist with Adrian Wyllie at 8%. That gives the latest Real Clear Politics average to Crist at 1.4% ahead of Scott for the first time in several weeks. Scott won by less than 2% in 2010 with full conservative support.When Bush went to conservative North Carolina to campaign, even moderate Thom Tillis had to publicly distance himself from Jeb on Common Core. Bush then was raked over the coals by Slate columnist Jamelle Bouie in the Miami Herald over that tone deaf performance: The Tillis affair is representative of Bush's flaws as a candidate. A more-talented politician would have tailored his message to his audience. Indeed, it doesn't take a savant to know that -- if you're supportive -- immigration and Common Core are areas to avoid with a conservative audience. But then, Bush isn't in the same world as rivals like Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul or even Gov. Chris Christie.Since leaving office, Bush has lived in Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Two more important columns have come out in response to Speaker-Designate Steve Crisafulli's op-ed and email and on the general issue of Common Core and testing. Although not really dealing with the issue of the tests coming as a result of Bush Family induced federal mandates and incentives, they, as we do, emphasize the issues of parental rights, loss of instructional time, and stifling of teachers over mandated tests.Former Florida Representative Paula Dockery wrote an excellent column that was particularly cogent on the issues of no one being fooled about the Common Core re-branding to the Florida Standards, Jeb Bush's role, and the need for parental control over decision making in their children's education: Florida approved the benchmarks in 2010 with little dissent, but public opposition is getting louder. Complicating matters for Scott is the fact that Jeb Bush is a vocal supporter of Common Core and of rigorous standardized testing in general. Scott's response to the public outcry was to make some changes to the standards and rebrand the "new" product as the Florida Standards. Opponents of Common Core were neither fooled nor impressed. Jeb Bush, on the other hand, was fine with the changes, as he recognized that the commitment to Common Core essentially remained intact...
...With little movement at the state level other than pacifying platitudes, concerned parents have taken to the school boards to voice their frustration and demands regarding the continuous expansion of testing over teaching......The "paid to advocate" crowd that pushes the idea of parental choice as it pertains to vouchers and charter schools is also the crowd pushing for more and more standardized testing in public schools.Their advocacy for their "parents know best what's right for their children" mantra applies to school choice, but is fiercely challenged when it comes to standardized testing.If Florida doesn't have the backbone Read more