Name Changes and Minor Revisions Do Not Remove Florida from Common Core System

January, 2014

Commissioner Stewart and the Florida Department of Education released the long awaited revisions to the Common Core standards on January 13th just hours before two thirty minute public conference calls/workshops.  The standards revisions and conference call recordings may be accessed on the Governor's summit page buried deep within the DOE website.

The link for comments is hidden on a different webpage having to do with the rulemaking involved with the standards and there is no clear deadline as to whether the comments have to be in.  Is it by the time the commissioner presents the proposed changes to the State Board of Education on January 21st or when the board votes on them on February 18th? This seems to be more evidence that public comment is not really wanted.

While the department is to be commended for adding cursive writing back to the standards, Commissioner Stewart admitted before the Senate Education Committee that the changes are minor. Pam Stewart said, "With the total, spread over K-12, of being 40-some changes, I don't think would have a serious impact on each grade level"

The press has noted that the changes are merely cosmetic.  John O'Connor of State Impact titled his article, Despite Changes, Florida Still Keeping The Core of Common Standards, and calls the changes "copy editing."

Kathleen McGrory of the Miami Herald's Naked Politics blog also brings up the concern that FSCCC has raised about the copyright issue, noting the 15% rule and the questions brought up by the Council of 100.  In her January 8th senate testimony Pam Stewart mentioned a letter which she has been referencing since October but has yet to produce from the Council of Chief State School Officers saying that Florida is not bound by the 15% rule.  However, an official from Achieve gets to the crux of the issue: 

Colby says that's not quite right -- states can make subtractions and changes. But they do so at their own peril, as common assessments being developed by two national consortia test the Common Core as it's written. (Emphasis added.)
The press is also finally picking up on the idea that changing the name to "Florida's Standards" is just a game of semantics and how the legislature is trying to remove references to Common Core in statute.  WFSU discusses the issue in one article and here is an excerpt from another State Impact article:
Porter-Magee said Scott was debating semantics about whether the standards were Common Core or not... Still, Scott, legislative leaders and others have been referring to "the Florida Standards." And House lawmakers have introduced a bill which would delete dozens of references to "Common Core."
"It might be a more politically motivated decision to brand them that way," Hyslop said. (Emphasis added.)

McGrory  quoted Marion County GOP Chairman Randy Osborne, who led the fight against Common Core at the RPOF meeting in Orlando, in a Tampa Bay Times piece about the establishment's  bait and switch tactic of calling Common Core "Florida's Standards:"
But Randy Osborne, a political consultant and co-founder of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, said he would continue to advocate for sweeping changes.  "We need to do more than change the name," he said.

Please stay tuned and get ready to let the governor and legislature know that these deceptive tactics are not acceptable.


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