October 25, 2021

Florida Republican Caucus Passes Resolution Opposing Common Core

A caucus of Republican Party Executive Committee Chairmen and State Committee men and women voted Friday evening to oppose the Common Core education standards in a sign of growing anger among the party’s grass-roots members over the school benchmarks.

The resolution, which was approved by a caucus of state chairman and committeemen and committeewomen as part of the run-up to Saturday’s annual party meeting, is not binding on the GOP. The RNC approved a similar resolution last year, but the RPOF has not taken action on Common Core.

Sean Mulhall, Chairman of the St. Johns REC told The Report Card that the Chairman caucus passed the resolution opposing Common Core by a majority, but that the vote was close. Mr. Mulhall voted for passage. Becky Reichenberg St. Johns REC State Committeewoman said: “The vote was close in our caucus, but the resolution passed.” Mrs. Reichenberg stated that she voted against the resolution because she said it was important to re-elect Gov. Scott and she was concerned that resolutions tend to divide the party at a time when unity is required.

Bill Patterson, Chairman of the St. Lucie REC, and an opponent of Common Core stated in a letter to fellow REC Chairs:

 “I personally have travelled extensively throughout southeast Florida and attended many forums on Common Core, including co-hosting one with Martin County in St. Lucie County.  I have also attended dozens of meeting hosted by various Tea Parties, 9-12 Groups and Liberty Caucuses, all of which have been in opposition to Common Core.   Some of the Members of these groups feel so strongly against Common Core that they threaten to not vote in the gubernatorial race unless Governor Scott opts Florida out.

Let’s get Florida out of Common Core before its too late and concentrate on getting conservative republicans elected and Governor Scott re-elected.”

RPOF officials, speaking on background, quickly moved to downplay the significance of the vote against the guidelines, which have support from members of the school-accountability movement led by former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.

But the vote also seemed to show that resistance to the standards has not died down since Gov. Rick Scott ordered the state Department of Education to begin backing away from a test based on Common Core and to review the standards.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said this week that the State Board of Education will soon consider 40 changes to the standards — most of which would add new material. The changes have not yet been released by Stewart’s agency.

Discussion at Friday’s meeting, though, mostly centered around some conservatives’ concerns that the standards would mark an unprecedented federal intrusion into education, despite the fact that the development of Common Core was spearheaded by officials from about four dozen states.

Mary Ann Russell, the state committeewoman from St. Lucie County, said Republican activists who worked to elect Scott in 2010 were opposed to the standards.

“They are dead-set against this massive federal government overtake of our education system,” Russell said. “And where we’re heading is to a very socialist country.”

Eric Miller, the committeeman from Martin County, said the caucus could begin to “run this progressive element out of our party and out of this country” by voting for the resolution.

“Folks, once they’ve got the kids, and they’ve got their minds, you might as well sit down; it’s over from there,” he said.

But opponents of the resolution, including critics of Common Core, said the caucus should focus its efforts less on staking out policy positions and more on electing Republicans.

“This sounds like a school board meeting. … This is not what our job is,” said Deborah Ricks, committeewoman from Clay County.

Mrs. Reichenberg said the matter would be referred to the party’s legislative affairs committee.

 

As draft of the resolution follows.

 

RESOLUTION OF THE CHAIRMEN’S CAUCUS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA.  EXPRESSING OPPOSITION TO COMMON CORE STANDARDS AND CURRICULA FOR FLORIDA SCHOOLS

 

WHEREAS, on April 11, 2013, the Republican National Committee (RNC), in a special meeting in Los Angeles, California, released their “RESOLUTION CONCERNING COMMON CORE EDUCATION STANDARDS” AND THE MEMBERS OF THIS Committee herein express to the people of Florida their full and unequivocal support for the positions taken by the RNC, and

 

WHEREAS, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of academic standards, promoted and supported by two private membership organizations, the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) as a method for conforming American students to uniform (“one size fits all”) achievement goals to make them more competitive in a global marketplace[1], and

 

WHEREAS, the NGA and CCSSO, received tens of millions of dollars from private third parties to advocate for and developed the CCSS strategy, subsequently created the CCSS through a process that was not subject to any freedom of information acts or other sunshine laws, and never piloted the CCSS, and

 

WHEREAS, even though Federal Law prohibits the federalizing of curriculum[2], the Obama Administration accepted the CCSS plan and used 2009 Stimulus Bill money to reward the states that were most committed to the president’s CCSS agenda; but, they failed to give states, their legislatures and their citizens time to evaluate the CCSS before having to commit to them, and

 

WHEREAS, the NGA and CCSSO in concert with the same corporations developing the CCSS ‘assessments’ have created new textbooks, digital media and other teaching materials aligned to the standards which must be purchased and adopted by local school districts in order that students may effectively compete on CCSS ‘assessment’, and

 

WHEREAS, the CCSS program includes federally funded testing and the collection and sharing of massive amounts of personal student and teacher data, and

WHEREAS, the CCSS effectively removes educational choice and competition since all schools and all districts must use Common Core ‘assessments’ based on the Common Core standards to allow all students to advance in the school system and to advance to higher education pursuits; therefore

 

BE IT RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee and the St. Lucie County Republican Executive Committee, as stated in the 2012 Republican Party Platform, “do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level,” (p35), which is best based on a free market approach to education for students to achieve individual excellence; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Florida’s Chairman’s Caucus recognize the CCSS for what it is an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal,” and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee and the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Florida’s Chairman’s Caucus reject the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state, and finally,

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the 2012 Republican Party Platform specifically states the need to repeal the numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools. (p36)[3]; and therefore, the Republican National Committee and the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Florida’s Chairman’s Caucus  reject this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.

 

Approved and adopted this 10th day of January 2014, at the RPOF Chairman’s Caucus in Orlando, Fl. 

 

I, the undersigned Chairman of the RPOF Chairmen’s Caucus representing its membership, hereby certify that the foregoing Resolution was adopted by the Republican Party of Florida’s Chairman’s Caucus. 

 

                                                                                                             

 

                                                                       

LESLIE DOUGHTER, Chairman

 



 

Resolution Opposing “Common Core Standards” and Curricula

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