By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Last night at the monthly meeting of the St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee (REC), Kate Wallace of Foundation for Florida’s Future attempted to defend Florida’s adoption of The Common Core Standard (CCSS) before a highly skeptical and packed audience. The REC plans to vote on a resolution calling on an end to CCSS in Florida at the September meeting. Former Gov. Jeb Bush founded Excellence in Education and Foundation for Florida’s Future to promote high educational standards and school choice. While the REC is highly supportive of high educational standards they did not appear to be convinced by Ms. Wallace that CCSS is a good thing.
Ms. Wallace spoke of Florida’s improved math and English scores from 2002-2009, but it was pointed out that this was prior to CCSS. Ms. Wallace tired to pre-empt concerns about student data confidentiality and a Federal takeover of education. She argued that the data would remain in the hands of the local school district, and only relased to the Federal government in the aggregate. Bill Korach, REC First Vice Chairman pointed out that CCSS author David Coleman, now president of the College Board that administers the SATs, said in Boston that he is working with Obama’s data team to acquire K-12 student data. Ms. Wallace said she was not aware of that fact. It was also pointed out that the Department of Education has recommended that local school use a data model that has 416 data fiends. That means that each student would potentially have 416 pieces of information available to the Federal Government. It was mentioned that in the wake of the IRS scandal, it would be difficult top trust the government to respect data confidentiality. Joe Ryan said: “PARCC (the testing convention) requires that data be shared with the Federal Government.”
Ms. Wallace tried to assure the REC saying: “The state of Florida will protect student privacy, but members did not appear to be convinced.”
A teacher in attendance said: “There has been too much change in educational standards and not enough research to determine the effectiveness of CCSS.”
Andrea Anthony, REC Treasurer asked: “What will the cost of the fully implemented CCSS be for Florida.” Ms. Wallace said she did not know the answer to that question.”
Ms. Anthony also stated: “The math standards sound similar to the failed ‘new math’ from earlier years.”
Rita Arpaia said she was a former teacher and textbook publisher and commented: “There is too much emphasis on skills (i.e. language arts) and not enough on knowledge. It doesn’t make sense that students would study how to compare and contrast opinions for so many years.”
No one in attendance spoke out in favor of CCSS. Chairman Mulhall stated that the resolution opposing the CCSS would be submitted to the membership on Friday and would be voted on at the September meeting.