Top Florida lawmakers plan to continue push against PARCC
Florida's top lawmakers don't intend to ease up on their pressure for the state to abandon the PARCC testing consortium just because Tony Bennett, the main recipient of their full-court press, is out of the picture.
"The concerns outlined in the letter sent to Commissioner Bennett regarding PARCC still remain," House Speaker Will Weatherford told the Gradebook via email. "I am confident we can continue to develop an approach transitioning to Common Core standards that will ensure our schools are prepared for any new plans for assessment. I look forward to working with interim Commissioner (Pam) Stewart and Governor Scott. I also expect the Florida House to take a close look at these issues next Session."
Katie Betta, spokeswoman for Senate President Don Gaetz, said Gaetz had been speaking regularly with education committee leaders to determine "legislative options" for the state and its Common Core efforts.
Neither leader suggested a desire to leave the new standards behind, even as they explore testing possibilities. Gaetz suggested that the state might be able to move ahead better without having to deal with the lightning rod that Bennett became once stories of possible conflicts of interest arose.
"Higher standards, effective teaching and better student performance are the issues that matter in education," Gaetz said in a prepared statement. "Unfortunately, in the case of Commissioner Bennett, the issues became hostage to the advocate."
National education analysts have predicted that PARCC stands even less of a chance of survival in Florida with Bennett's departure, as Bennett was a leader in the consortium from the outset. Stay tuned.