There's been much debate since Gov. Rick Scott announced three public hearings on Florida's participation in the Common Core State Standards as to whether the hearings would be meaningful, or just for show.
Along with those concerns have come some more basic questions, such as, what's going to happen once I show up? Here's the lowdown from the Department of Education.
The meetings are slated to start promptly at 5 p.m., and to last exactly three hours, regardless of the number of people who show up. Anyone who wishes to speak must fill out a card, and they will be called upon in order of submission.
Education commissioner Pam Stewart is scheduled to make introductory remarks of five to 10 minutes, and then she is to open the floor to comments from the audience. The goal is to have speakers address specific details within the standards that might be addressed. However, department spokeswoman Tiffany Cowie said, if someone wishes to simply make broad statements for or against the standards, "they will let them stand up and speak their piece."
How long will each speaker get? Well, that depends on how many people sign up. The goal is to allow as many people to make comments as possible. So if hundreds show up, expect limited time to talk. If the crowd is tiny, the forum is still scheduled for three hours.
If time expires, Cowie said, some department officials expect to stick around afterward to listen in a less formal setting. People also can send in e-mail comments — thousands already have done so, compared to a couple hundred the first time Florida reviewed the CCSS.
The first hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry campus, near the Tampa International Airport. It will take place shortly after the State Board of Education has its October meeting at the airport Marriott. The next two meetings are set for Davie and Tallahassee.