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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Common Core foes look to make stand at Florida Board of Education meeting



Florida's participation in the Common Core faces a key test on Tuesday, and opponents of the national movement plan to be there -- in large numbers, if they can.

Florida Parents Against Common Core has sent missives to like-minded organizations, asking for a presence when the Florida Board of Education votes on a handful of proposed amendments to the standards. The recommendations primarily focus on adding cursive handwriting and calculus to the existing expectations. Many observers have called the changes "tweaks," and noted that Florida appears on track to maintain the Common Core despite attempts to rebrand it as "Florida standards."

"We would like a large contingent both inside and outside," FPACC co-founder Stacie Clarke wrote in her request letter. "Please contact every group you know in Florida and ask them to attend since this is a statewide meeting. If you have media contacts, please let them know about this meeting. Of course that means we need a huge number of attendees so it looks formidable on TV."

The group also plans a press conference just before the board's meeting begins in Orlando. The point, as explained in a news alert, is to make clear their dissatisfaction with the recommended amendments: "The changes being proposed by the Florida Department of Education fall short of the changes that need to be made regarding the Common Core Standards."

Florida is not the only state facing significant pushback against the standards. Indiana lawmakers have begun moving legislation to take the state out of the initiative, while New York officials recently postponed implementation by five more years and Louisiana lawmakers are considering options to stave off the opposition.

In Florida, the Legislature has taken steps to protect student data (one common concern) and to ensure local control of curriculum (which they don't want confused with the standards). One bill even seeks to remove the words "common core" from statute. But the only legislation that aims to end Florida's participation in Common Core has yet to be scheduled for a single hearing in the House, and it lacks a Senate companion.

Many key lawmakers have stated that the standards debate is just about past, and the important next steps will focus on test selection and school accountability. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Friday, February 14, 2014 10:20am]


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