Gov. Scott Rejects Common Core As An ‘Intrusion’ In Florida’s Academic Standards

Alissa Tabirian | September 24, 2013 | 4:04pm EDT
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Rick Scott, Florida's Republican governor. (AP)

( – Florida Governor Rick Scott issued an executive order Monday rejecting the Common Core educational initiative adopted in 2010 by the Florida State Board of Education (BOE) and endorsed by former Gov. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future as a “Federal government intrusion” into his state’s right to set its own academic standards.

“The Federal government has no constitutional authority to unilaterally set academic standards for Florida, nor any authority to unilaterally direct local school board decisions on curriculum and instruction,” Scott’s executive order stated.

“Floridians will not accept Federal government intrusion into the academic standards that are taught to our students in our classrooms and will not tolerate the Federal government using such standards to coerce policy decisions at the state or local level,” it continued.

Florida is one of 45 states that have joined the push to implement uniform federal standards in mathematics and English language arts across the country. However, Common Core has since come under political fire, in part due to the U.S. Department of Education’s data-mining plans.

Scott called on the Florida BOE to abandon any exams based on Common Core standards. He also urged the board to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a group of states developing assessments based on Common Core standards, and called for a “competitive solicitation” for new academic assessments to be used in Florida’s public schools.

(AP photo)

"Unfortunately, what ‘Common Core’ has come to mean in the minds of many in our state is less about a set of high academic standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics and more about an effort to institute federal control of the policy decisions of state and local governments,” Scott said in a letter to Gary Chartrand, chair of the Florida State BOE.

“What Floridians need to know is not whether our leaders are ‘for Common Core’ or ‘against Common Core,’” Scott wrote. “Instead, they need to know that we are going to provide our students the highest academic standards and reject the intrusion from the federal government that does not serve students, parents or our teachers well.”

In another letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Scott voiced his support for finding “other alternatives to select an assessment that best meets the needs of Florida students, parents and teachers, not the needs of the federal government or other states.

“The provision of these standards is a fundamental duty of our state government, while the operation, control and supervision of our schools remains, as the Florida Constitution directs, the purview of our local school boards,” Scott reminded Duncan. “Unfortunately today, PARCC has become a primary entry point for the involvement of the federal government in many of these state and local decisions.”

Scott also reaffirmed his decision to “end Florida’s fiscal agent relationship” with PARCC and “immediately codify through State Board of Education action that Florida will not adopt the Common Core State Standards appendices,” including “pieces of literature, informational text, poetry, etc…and designed high school math courses, which should all remain the decisions of local school boards.”

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