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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Conservatives keep turning up the heat on Common Core in Florida



While Gov. Rick Scott huddles with some key political leaders to contemplate the future of Common Core standards and related PARCC testing in Florida, some conservatives from the branch of the party that helped elect Scott are turning up the heat on the issue.

Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has filed a bill that seeks to pull Florida out of the PARCC testing consortium, which the state has led since its inception. She also aims to halt participation in the Common Core standards, which Florida schools are in the midst of implementing, until the state holds at least one hearing on the subject in every congressional district, and conducts a fiscal analysis of the implementation.

The cost approached $100 million in the spring, with testing and other expenses still incomplete.

The bill aims to prevent the State Board of Education from entering into or renewing any agreement that "cedes to an outside entity control over curricular standards or assessments." Of note, the State Board has retained the authority to make these decisions throughout.

A conservative web site, the Right Side News, added to the debate on Friday with an article provocatively headlined "Florida Set to Adopt National 'Sexuality' Education Standards." The article, being passed around in some tea party circles, refers to an set of proposed education standards on sexual activity and gender identity that aren't part of the Common Core, which focuses on English/language arts and math.

The Future of Sex Education Initiative, supported by groups such as the American School Health Association, has put forth that document.

And it isn't under consideration at all in Florida, Department of Education spokeswoman Cheryl Etters said.

"They're making the assertion that we're going to adopt those. No, we're not," Etters said. "It's absolutely false."

Also adding to the mix, the Sarasota Republican Party has launched a petition called simply, "I oppose Common Core!" It has a goal of 1,250 signatures, and got 1,095 in the first day.

Meanwhile, word from the Scott camp is minimal.

The Buzz asked what happened at the Scott Thursday night huddle with Jeb Bush, John Thrasher and Gary Chartrand? Here's the 10-word response the Buzz got back from spokeswoman Jackie Schutz: "They had a very productive conversation about education in Florida."

Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 12:23pm]


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