Rep. Mayfield Files "Substantive" Opt-out Bill with Freedom for Students, Parents, & Public Schools Just as Bush Says HeWants

February, 2015

The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition thanks Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R-Indian River) whose opt-out bill (HB 877) is the only one introduced so far that protects students, parents, teachers, duly elected local school boards, and constitutional autonomy.  The Tampa Bay Times calls the Mayfield bill "the first substantive testing-related proposal to come out of the Florida House, during a heated statewide debate that the Senate largely has taken the lead to tackle. Education blogger Bob Sikes calls the bill "remarkable."  

"As with her education sovereignty bill, Rep. Mayfield is listening to all the significant parties in this debate, said Dr. Karen Effrem," executive director of FSCCC.  "Her bill expands choice and freedom to students, parents, teachers and schools, and even fulfills Governor Bush's idea that government can 'figure out ways to liberate the traditional public schools' regarding testing." (See video at 28:10)

"This bill saves the taxpayers money, supports both the Florida and U.S. Constitutions, and allows expanded learning by letting teachers teach instead of proctoring tests," said Catherine Baer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Network.

"This legislation puts the student, the family, and duly elected school boards in charge, instead of bureaucratic big government and their corporate cronies," said Randy Osborne, director of education for Florida Eagle Forum and Heartland Research.

All three organizations strongly urge their members to support this legislation and to contact their legislators to co-sponsor and support it as well.  

This bill does the following:

  • Allows students to opt out of the tests without harmful consequences
  • Offers academic accountability by offering an option of a pre-Common Core nationally norm-referenced test instead of the state tests as is an option for private and home schooled students.  Governor Bush repeatedly has called for more options for all students.
  • Paper and pencil testing protects  students from the psychological and academic manipulation of computer adaptive testing
  • Paper and pencil testing protects younger children from doing poorly on the test due to not being capable of maneuvering the computer to answer those questions (i.e. "drag and drop') and the physiological harm of harm of increased radiation.
  • Reaffirms the right of parents to direct the education of their children, but still provides important academic information for their children.
  • Protects district autonomy by allowing  districts to give nationally  norm-referenced test instead of the computerized statewide assessment without harmful consequences regarding school grades and personnel evaluations
  • Allows schools and districts to choose paper and pencil testing for the statewide testing if they want to or do not have adequate equipment or personnel to administer the tests online.
  • Allows them to teach according to their skills instead of according Common Core's prescriptive and confusing pedagogy
  • Protects teachers from being penalized if parents and students exercise their rights to opt out of tests
  • Allows more teaching time because certified teachers won't be pulled out to proctor

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