Is "Common Core" a dirty word?
No, said state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand.
Chartrand made the statement Tuesday, after state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart suggested Florida might "rebrand" the controversial Common Core State Standards. The national benchmark are already being used in Florida classrooms, but have drawn ire from Tea Party groups and libertarians, who consider the standards an example of federal overreach.
Board member Kathleen Shanahan said a name change would cause "more public confusion."
Said Stewart: "I don't know that we are ready to rebrand... I think at the end of the day, I don't know that we know what we are going to call it."
Still, Shanahan insisted any ambiguity would be problematic.
"We're talking about a communications plan and we are talking about stepping back," she said. "We're creating vagaries in terms of where we've been since 2010 [when the state Board of Education approved the standards]. We're all of a sudden going to walk it back and be mushy about it until we get more public input?"
Stewart said the directive was clear: "For right now, in the classrooms in the state of Florida, teachers will be and should be teaching what they began teaching."
"Which is the Common Core State Standards," Chartrand chimed in. "It's OK to say it."
"The commissioner is not comfortable saying it," Shanahan said.
Chartrand stressed the board was committed to the Common Core State Standards. The terminology, he added, should reflect that.
"I believe 'Common Core State Standards' is not a dirty word," he said. "It's something people understand. Let's not back away from it."