For over a year I’ve been trying to get an opportunity to talk with the Governor about Common Core concerns to no avail. We have been diverted to staff and flatly refused an audience after dozens of requests, letters and calls. My curiosity has been growing for some time why such a good family man would possibly embrace what we know are the many dangers to our children and our society as a whole in Nationalizing Education under Common Core.
Being a logical and intelligent business leader, how could he swallow the line presented by those who stand to gain power and money from Common Core without logical proof of results? In fact, we have mountains of evidence of the damages that children are now experiencing in the classroom. How could he violate the Constitution of the United States as well as Florida’s Constitution by implementing FED ED and removing parental control?
At our protest against Common Core at his fundraiser in Fort Myers yesterday, he graciously got out of his car and came over to talk with our orderly crowd of about 40 people waving Stop Common Core signs. He looked certain that if we only knew what steps he had taken, we would realize there is no more danger. Here is the exchange:
Here is the summary of the point, counterpoint. I have added some comments to his points we were unable to make then.
He started by repeating numerous statistics showing how great Florida’s children are doing on tests. He didn’t say which year these statistics reflect, but it must be 2-3 years ago.
We retorted, “Those figures are from past years, before Common Core was implemented.” If we were doing so well, why is there a need give up parental control, local control and state control over education and pay Billions of dollars implementing a new program copyrighted by unaccountable Washington Bureaucrats?
He repeated more figures about minorities doing so well in Florida’s results. We now say that Common Core’s effects will be impacting minorities the worst, as parents won’t be as available to guide them and tutor them through the hurdles. One in our audience was autistic and talked earlier about the heavy impact on special needs students who cannot work within a “one size fits all” education formula.
Governor Scott changed the topic again, saying how he had held town hall meetings all over the state. Not so fast, Governor…the group responded that there were only three meetings held in the entire state after a great deal of public pressure, and the cries to stop Common Core were ignored. Experts were brought in from all over the country and met with Commissioner Stewart who also ignored their grave concerns about Florida’s adoption of Common Core’s standards which are lower than previous Florida standards and deeply flawed. Less than 1% change was made to the standards and then they changed the name and claimed the standards are our own.
Governor Scott then started talking about the bills passed this legislative session that would prevent data mining and sharing of data. This is another subterfuge which does not pass the smell test. The Federal Law, FERPA, which used to protect privacy, has been changed by the Obama administration to allow sharing of data without parental permission with a much wider group, including the education materials providers such as Microsoft and Pearson PLC, as well as data collection and testing companies.
This is an excerpt from the enrolled language of SB188:
(2) RIGHTS OF STUDENTS AND PARENTS.—The rights of students and their parents with respect to education records created, maintained, or used by public educational institutions and agencies shall be protected in accordance with the FamilyEducational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, the implementing regulations issued pursuant thereto, and this section. In order to maintain the eligibility of public educational institutions and agencies to receive federal funds and participate in federal programs, the State Board of Education shall comply with the FERPA after the board has evaluated and determined that the FERPA is consistent with the following principles…
KEY POINT: The section does not provide how and when the “board” evaluates and determines FERPA is consistent with the principles outlined, and how they would possibly object to the data sharing required under the law. In fact, FERPA has been watered down by the Obama administration and is not consistent with those principles so this bill is not functional on its face.
Here is a statement in the Ed Code defining privacy rights and providing that Federal FERPA law trumps Florida Law. This means data will be sent to the Federal Government where FERPA laws apply and data WILL be distributed as planned and without parental consent in order to keep federal money flowing.
|1002.221 K-12 education records.—(1) Education records, as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g, and the federal regulations issued pursuant thereto, are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.(2)(a) An agency, as defined in s. 1002.22(1)(a), or a public school, center, institution, or other entity that is part of Florida’s education system under s. 1000.04(1), (3), or (4), may not release a student’s education records without the written consent of the student or parent to any individual, agency, or organization, except in accordance with and as permitted by the FERPA. Education records released by an agency, as defined in s. 1002.22(1)(a), or by a public school, center, institution, or other entity that is part of Florida’s education system under s. 1000.04|
Then the Governor brought up how he restored local control over textbook adoption with SB 864, which is subterfuge once again. All textbooks and materials must be Common Core aligned and schools, teachers and students will be tested only on Common Core Standards. With high stakes testing, there is no choice. We can only choose which Common Core aligned education providers will poison our children’s brains the least.
These carefully planned “end around” bills do nothing to eliminate Common Core, and serve only to obfuscate this governor’s shameful effort to sell our children down the river for his political ally, Jeb Bush. Meanwhile, HB 25 by Debby Mayfield, which actually would have stopped Common Core, died without a single committee hearing.
It seems either that Governor Scott has not read or understood the entire argument about Common Core, and is so insulated by his bubble in the Capitol that he actually believes his talking points, or he is complicit in a large scheme to obfuscate the realities of Common Core and sell our children down the river for political gain. Perhaps it’s a little of both.
No matter which is true, the opposition to Common Core is growing and will continue to raise their voices to oppose Common Core and those who are force feeding this poison to our children. There is a political consequence for their actions as was seen in the recent race for Congressional District 19 in Southwest Florida where the political outsider, Curt Clawson, handily won over the well -funded State Senate Majority Leader, Lizbeth Benaquisto, by 12 points. She had sponsored the bill implementing Common Core in 2013 and the voters did not forget. It is not just an issue to us. It’s our children and our future.