Common Core & FSCCC Voter Guides a Major Issue in SD 12 between Gee, Baxley, & O'Toole

August, 2016

The central Florida senate race between businessman David Gee and current Reps. Dennis Baxley and Marlene O'Toole is becoming intense in the last few days before the August 30th primary. There has been significant media coverage of the Common Core issue as well as our voter guide for the district.

David Gee did an ad discussing Common Core.

extensively explained our ratings of the three candidates:

The coalition graded Gee with an "A-" rating after thoroughly researching his stance on Common Core, as well as the positions of his opponents state Rep. Dennis Baxley and state Rep. Marlene O'Toole.

The grades were released in a report that consisted of the researched evidence to support the reasoning for each of the candidates' received grades. 

Although a political outsider, Gee has been vocal in his opposition to the initiative through his website and debates, which has drawn the endorsements of those who are anti-Common Core according to the report.

The longtime businessman was also recognized by the coalition for his proposed efforts to eradicate Common Core in contrast to his opponents.

Baxley received a "D," a grade that is described in the coalition's report as "no effort or even statements on the Common Core system or much in education, and or has received pro-Common Core endorsements, and or has sponsored or co-sponsored bad pro-Common core system legislation."

While Baxley has released campaign mailers that seemingly expressed his involvement to stop federal overreach in areas such as education, the group disproved his claims by indicating his lack of support for anti-Common Core bills.

The coalition also pinned him together with others in legislation for only voting to "remove the name of the standards from statute," thus keeping the education initiative alive.

O'Toole, chairwoman of the Florida House Education Committee, received an "F" for "blocking" anti-Common Core bills, yet allowing pro-Common Core bills to pass, the report stated. She has also received special acknowledgment in 2015 and 2016 on the Foundation for Excellence in Education's honor roll, which was founded by former state governor Jeb Bush.

The group also cited a news article, which reported that the Commission on Ethics "found she did not properly disclose financial voting conflicts of interest," and a video where O'Toole suggested that avoiding the standardized tests "was not an option."

"This voter guide shows in detail that my opponents have not been telling the truth about their records. Representative Baxley claims to be a fighter, but has been missing-in-action when it comes to defending local control of our education system. Worst yet, Representative Marlene O'Toole has spoken against Common Core while preserving the entirety of the program. O'Toole claims to put service ahead of politics, but she only serves her Pro-Common Core financial backers," said Gee in a press release.

The Miami CBS affiliate has also been covering the race and mentioned the importance of the Common Core issue:

In the primary, O'Toole has had to explain her position on Common Core, a set of national education standards. She said lawmakers never voted on the standards adopted by the state Department of Education.

Lawmakers have modified the standards, including eliminating any reference to the name "Common Core," while giving local districts more control of instructional materials and prohibiting the use of student biometrics, she said.
They do not mention that merely removing the name of Common Core does not do anything to fix the standards that despite the few cosmetic changes are still Common Core with their aligned and validity challenged assessments. And although the prohibition of biometric data collection is welcome, nothing is being done about the hundreds and as admitted by tech companies, the millions of data points including psychological data collected on children without consent.

Anti-Common Core activists in the Lake County area have further illustrated the information in our voter guides by explaining that Dennis Baxley has not really done anything to fix the standards except for removing the term from statute. The photos also highlight the pro-Common Core nature of his significant endorsements:


Here is the text describing these photos from the public Facebook post: 

Did you know that Dennis Baxley running for Senate District 12 "suggest" he is not a fan of Common Core, but he is endorsed by Associated Industries of Florida. AIF's 2016 Session Priorities include "continue the successful implementation of Common Core Standards..." While serving in Tallahassee he Sponsored and Co-Sponsored (0) Anti-Common Core Bills. Do not be fooled! Do your homework!
Please vote informed!

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