A three-day summit on education failed to quiet the increasing groundswell of opposition to Common Core, new national testing standards set to take effect in Florida in the 2014-15 school year.
This resistance is a rare pushback for the educational policies of former Gov. Jeb Bush, according to John Kennedy and Allison Ross of The Palm Beach Post.
However, instead of the conflict coming from one side of the political spectrum, opponents are blasting Common Core from both the left and right. Critics from both sides see the new standards as either government overreach or yet another example of teachers “teaching to the test.”
Unfortunately, the Clearwater summit fell short of its goal of bringing educators, school associations and parent groups together to hammer out the details for implementing Common Core. The result was a weak agreement on only a handful of non-controversial testing guidelines and evaluations.
Gov. Rick Scott, who called the meeting, is in a tough spot when it comes to Common Core. The Tea Party, which helped usher Scott into office, are some of the biggest critics of national standards. Scott is left with three options: continue with the rollout, as planned; create Florida’s own replacement for the FCAT, or use an “off the shelf” testing option that aligns with Common Core standards, similar to the system Alabama chose.
Educational experts suggest that Florida had planned to use the Common core assessments for some time.
Common Core is tied into Bush’s “Florida formula,” a foundation of increased school accountability and parental choice. The former governor credits his strategy for the sharp increase in classroom performance, principally in schools with low-income and minority students.