The Florida Current Does a Great Series on Opposition to Common Core

September, 2013

The Florida Current, a Tallahassee based news organization covering state news and the Florida legislature did a great three part series on the rapidly growing opposition to Common Core that prominently featured the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition and Dr. Effrem.  Here are links to the stories and some excerpts.  The press is starting to see that legislature is going to have a very hard time impsoing these standards:

Part I - Common Core: Opposition continues to grow

"We need to stop Common Core," Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, says. Mayfield has filed a bill that would prevent implementation of Common Core in Florida in any area other than math and English.

The "concern is taking some part of states' rights away," Mayfield told both WTSP television and the
Tampa Bay Times in interviews during the Labor Day weekend.

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, also have called on the Board of Education to pull out of the PARRC and to develop a Florida test. The high-level opposition to the test -- which would assess whether Florida students are meeting Common Core benchmarks and to the Common Core itself -- adds to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Florida's school accountability system.

In addition to the politicians voicing concerns, Sarasota County Republicans have launched an on-line petition to stop Common Core. And there is a handful of groups active on-line trying to gather opposition to the Core. On the right there are groups with names such as Florida Parents Against Common Core and Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, while education historian and policy analyst Diane Ravitch  offers critiques from the left based on an over reliance on standardized tests and a fear of school privatization efforts.

"These standards and assessments and data collection are going to fundamentally transform education and it is not the role of the federal government or state government to impose these kinds of things," said Dr. Karen Effrem of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, one of a handful of groups organizing opposition in Florida.

Among Effrem's complaints is that Common Core will lead to greater reliance on standardized tests, which she said hinders a teacher's ability to teach.

Educators say the idea is to construct a framework that allows in-depth study and fosters critical thinking. Opponents say part of the problem is what educators want to place in front of children to study and think about. The Stop coalition points to alist of books showing examples of the kind of text complexity recommended for high school students that includes works by Julie Alvarez -- "heavy on feminism," and Toni Morrison -- "pornographic and pedophilic," said Effrem, a Minnesota pediatrician.
This summer Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett persuaded the State Board of Education to adopt a safety net preventing a school from dropping more than one letter grade. The measure passed on a 4-to-3 vote with opponents, including board members with ties to the Bush administration, expressing concern the move would damage the system's accountability.

The Associated Press then published emails indicating that in his previous position as Indiana state education superintendent, Bennett may have changed school grades to benefit a campaign contributor. The revelation led to Bennett's resignation in Florida. He was one of Bush's Chiefs for Change, a national group of state educators committed to reform.

"If Tony Bennett, one of the greatest Common Core experts and proponents in the country, basically had to change the data in two different states to try to make this make sense then there is something wrong," said Dr. Karen Effrem of the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition. The FSCCC is among a handful of groups trying to persuade policy makers to drop the Core.

Core opponents are concerned about the reliance on standardized tests and the federal government combining the results with other data and sharing it with outside entities -- an invasion of the student's privacy and a data-mining opportunity for vendors.

"Accountability does not necessary need to be to the state or the federal government," said Effrem, a Minnesota pediatrician. "It should be to the parents and to duly elected school boards."

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