Florida Backing Off Common Core Support

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has been a strong supporter of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is pulling his state out of its leadership role as the Common Core's "fiscal agent" for its assessment program. Another state will now need to be chosen for that role, which could delay the planned 2014-15 school year Common Core testing.

Scott's move is not a repudiation of Common Core altogether. His executive order will end the state's role as the fiscal agent for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

PARCC is tasked with developing tests that are aligned with the Common Core standards. Forty-five states have signed onto Common Core, but states can use the Common Core standards without using the PARCC assessments.

In announcing his decision, Scott did not say he would seek to withdraw from the Common Core altogether, but he did say that he would look into how the state might modify its implementation of the Common Core.

His office "will hold public comment sessions to receive input on any alterations that should be made to the current Common Core Standards."

Scott also remarked that his decision was based upon concerns about federal government intrusion into education that he heard expressed at a recent education summit in Tampa.

"While the debate surrounding Common Core Standards has become polarized into a 'yes' or 'no' discussion, we heard during the Education Summit that most education leaders agreed on two things. We agree that we should say 'yes' to high standards for Florida students and 'no' to the federal government's overreach into our education system," he said.

Support and opposition to the Common Core has crossed partisan and ideological lines. Prominent conservatives, liberals, Republicans and Democrats can all be found among both Common Core supporters and critics.

Scott's predecessor, Jeb Bush, has been one of the most outspoken Republican supporters of the Common Core. Until yesterday's announcement, Scott had aligned himself with Bush on the issue. Now, it appears that Scott has started to become more convinced of the views of Common Core detractors.

Supporters argue that the Common Core is needed to increase the standards in K-12 education and to push the nation's school systems into developing a curriculum appropriate for the 21st century.

Critics complain that the standards were implemented without the support of voters in the states, or their elected representatives in state legislatures. The Common Core places too much federal control over education. And, the standards are untested and inferior to those that were already in place in many states.

Despite these multiple complaints, Bush claimed that Common Core opponents are "comfortable with mediocrity."

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