The Public and Media Understand the Cover-Up. Why Are Legislators and Governor Scott Continuing to Lie?

April, 2014

You have called, emailed, visited, protested, attended conferences, debates, and forums.  You have looked at both sides of the issue on Common Core.  You have watched these new academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, and psychologically manipulative standards wreak havoc with your children's academic knowledge and their emotions as they are being set up to fail, emotionally devastated, having the love of leaning be totally destroyed when they are young and then hearing experts say that they will be inadequately prepared for college when they are older.  You have watched programs be cut and teachers laid off in your own districts while mega corporations like Pearson and Microsoft stand to make billions and told by your elected school board that there is nothing they can do, because they are merely puppets on a string to the appointed state school board and appointed commissioner of education.   Yet no one listens.  The legislature has failed you.  They are absolutely refusing to bring forth any bills that will substantively do anything about Common Core. 

Instead, the legislature and Governor Scott are using deceptive tactics and passing bogus bills that are merely meant to placate you into thinking are "doing something."  As many journalists have discussed, Gary Finout of the Associated Press got it absolutely right when he said just yesterday, "Fueled by parents angry over contentious new national education standards called Common Core, the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature is pushing through a series of sweeping changes. But shhh - don't tell anyone this - Common Core isn't really going away in Florida, just the name." Here is a brief overview and recap of these deceptive tactics:

1)  Removing Common Core from Statute in HB 7031/Changing the Name to Florida's Standards/Standards Changes

  • All of these efforts are deceptive and "put lipstick on a pig." The press has called these changes "tweaks" and "copy editing."
  • Only 98 out of 11,000 standards in Math and English were changed, which means that the "Florida Standards" are still 99.1% Common Core
  • The majority of the changes have to do with topics that will not be tested on the national tests that will determine student grade advancement and graduation, district funding, and teacher pay and tenure.
  • Department officials proclaimed during and after the public hearing and comment process that the changes to the standards were not going to be significant.
  • The Department of Education ignored the vast majority of the 19,000 comments it received, including expert testimony from Professor Sandra Stotsky in English, Ze'ev Wurman in math and Dr. Karen Effrem about developmental inappropriateness and psychological manipulation.
2) Choosing the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to test Florida's insignificantly changed Common Core standards is a horrible choice because this organization does not research and test academic issues, but rather is involved in psychosocial engineering:
  • It proclaims itself to be "one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations."
  • The computer adapted tests it will produce will not produce comparable results across a single classroom, much less across the state or nation, because the questions given will vary depending on how a student answers the previous question.
  • The organization admits that it is deeply involved in data mining individual Florida student and teacher data across time (longitudinal).  Due to weakening of the federal student data protection law (FERPA) without congressional approval, this is likely done without consent. (See our analysis).
  • The company is involved in promoting controversial social issues such as acceptance of the GLBT lifestyle for young children and families.
    • "Adolescents in our research for the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) said they were attracted to another person of the same gender at about age 10.  Some knew they were gay at age 7 or 9."
    • "Bring your child to LGBT organizations or events."
    • "Connect your child with an LGBT adult role model to show them options for the future."
    • "Work to make your congregation supportive of LGBT members, or find a supportive faith community that welcomes your family and LGBT child"
3) Student and teacher data privacy is not protected in HB 195/SB 188
  • The so-called student data protection bill allows collection of data based on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
  • There is no meaningful protection in FERPA because the law has been so weakened via regulation without congressional approval. 
  • There is an entire section of the FERPA regulations titled "99.31 Under what conditions is prior consent not required to disclose information?"
  • Thirty-four chief state school officers, including Florida's Pam Stewart, sent a letter to US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that tried to give the impression that individual student data will not be given to the federal government, when both national testing groups, PARCC and SBAC clearly admit that it will be, and AIR has already admitted that it mines test data on individual students.  A formal response debunking this letter is available HERE.
  • There is zero protection against psychological teaching, testing, .or data collection via the standards, curricular assessments or state assessments.
4) We have also already explained how their next plan to deceive is to pretend to reject federal Race to the Top Money, which is in the last quarter of the last year of the grant and therefore will be meaningless.

Fox News and other outlets have reported on how potent an election issue Common Core has become.  Let us hope that Governor Scott and Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benaquisto who is running for Congress and the other officials in this state realize how angry the public is and stop the deception.

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