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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida senators should stick to facts on Common Core, leadership says



Get your facts straight before you spout off on the Common Core State Standards.

That's the message coming from Florida Senate leadership as committee weeks for the 2014 session approaches.

Senate President Don Gaetz on Friday sent all members a series of documents relating to the standards, with the message that he hoped the information "will help you and your staff answer constituent inquiries you may have received regarding Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards."


"It's to separate fact from fiction ... so when we have discussions, we can discuss what the actual standards are," said Senate Education Committee chairman John Legg, who put together the materials, including copies of the standards.

The subject is bound to come up, as some Republican lawmakers have voiced their opposition to Florida's continued participation in the model that has been adopted by a majority of states. Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has filed a bill to remove Florida from the Common Core, which it adopted  three years ago.

"We found some of them don't even have copies of the standards," Legg said. "If senators have problems with a specific standard, great, let's highlight it and address that standard."

He also stressed that Florida's use of the Common Core does not obligate it to implement a specific curriculum, which is separate from standards. And he noted that the associated testing, which Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford have called into question, "is still in flux."

Depending on how the Department of Education and Governor's Office act, Legg said, "We may have to inject ourselves." So it's best to have bills prepared based on fact and not on what someone heard on the radio or read on the Internet. "We're trying to refocus the conversation."

See Legg's memo, which Gaetz distributed to all senators, for more details.

[Last modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 3:46pm]


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