January 26, 2022

Common Core and the 2014 Florida Legislative Session

In 2013, parents across Florida started sounding the alarm of the disastrous consequences that would be felt by our children with the adoption of the scheme called Common Core. These concerns fell on deaf ears in the Florida Legislature. Actually worse than ignoring us, they chose to deceive the people, by playing a shell game, thinking they could fool us into believing they had addressed our concerns.

The politicians in Tallahassee are saying they heard us and passed laws addressing our concerns, but did they?

In my years in Tallahassee, I have discovered that when politicians are feeling pressure from angry voters, they will always do the least amount they can possibly do to make you think they actually did something with the hopes that you will go away. In some ways we may have given them an open door to deceive us. I think we made the mistake of referring to the Common Core scheme as “Common Core Standards”. As I met with Legislators, their standard prepared response was; “what is wrong with having standards?” We all would admit that there is nothing wrong with standards, the even mention that anyone wouldn’t want standards is almost ridiculous, but Common Core is about so much more than  just standards and we gave them an opportunity to focus on the ridiculous and ignore the real danger.

Why is Common Core wrong for our students?

The problem with Common Core is not that it provides standards, even though educational experts that analyzed just the standards said they would set Florida students back two years, the problem is that there is also a transformational change to the method and practice of teaching. Common Core buries students in concepts at the expense of content. Make no mistake; there is a push to have national standards. That means every school will teach the same concepts on the same schedule, with no regard for the interests or abilities of individual students. Common Core is a one-size-fits-all scheme that kills the innovation and creativity of individual states, along with teachers, school boards and parents finding the best ways to teach our children. School funding and teacher’s salaries will be based on results from testing

aligned to Common Core and teachers will be pressured to follow suggested curriculum and instructional material tied to Common Core. As someone said; those who write the test, set the curriculum. Dr. Karen Effrem, who is a pediatrician, researcher, and conference speaker, has been an ardent opponent of Common Core. Dr. Effrem has provided testimony for Congress, as well as in-depth analysis of numerous pieces of major federal education, health, and early childhood legislation for congressional staff, state legislatures, and many organizations. Dr. Effrem serves on the boards of two national organizations: Education Liberty Watch and the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

Here is what Dr. Effrem has said about the Common Core scheme: “Teachers will feel pressured to gear much of their instruction to this annual regimen. In the coming years, test results are likely to affect decisions about grade promotion for students, teachers’ job status and school viability”.

Dr. Karen Effrem

“You have the national standards accompanying national tests which are paid for and the development overseen by the federal government. The federal government is involved in the assessment writing as well as in the curriculum guidelines and that’s important to understand. Everybody says, oh, well the states and the districts and the teachers can choose their own curriculum, it’s just standards, yet the stakes are so high for the results of these tests that that  freedom is really only in there in theory because if student grade promotion, graduation, district funding, teacher pay and tenure are all dependent on the results of these tests how independent of the federal model curriculum do you think anybody is going to be?” Dr. Karen Effrem

Was PAARC the only problem?

After much pressure from parents around the state, Florida abandoned the controversial PAARC (one of the federally funded national testing consortiums for Common Core). Unfortunately they decided on a testing institute worse than the original, American Institutes for Research (AIR). American Institutes for Research are developing test for SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium), which is the other federally funded, and supervised national testing consortium testing the national Common Core standards. AIR is a progressive non-profit think tank and advocates a left leaning social agenda with a heavy emphasis on psychological student profiling.

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