By Bill Korach
Rep. Janet Adkins, (R) Florida 11th District hosted an Educational Summit at Florida State College in Yulee for the purpose of getting public comment on the Common Core Standard (CCSS). Sen. Aaron Bean and Interim Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart attended to speak for Common Core and field public questions and hear comment. The Panel also included a teacher and two Superintendents, Dr. John Ruis, Nassau County and Dr. Matt Vitti, Duval County. Mary Jane Tappan attended from FDOE to field certain questions. Although other matters were discussed CCSS was the main topic of interest to the audience of over 200. Rep. Adkins has not take a position pro or con on CCSS but she serves as Chairman of the K-12 Subcommittee and held the summit in Yulee and another in Neptune Beach to garner public opinion.
In Yulee, public opinion was strongly opposed to CCSS. Most of the speakers opposed CCSS and none supported it leaving Commissioner Stewart and Sen. Bean on defense. Commissioner Stewart tried to defend against accusations that CCSS captured and shared confidential student data and that states would loose control over education, but she made some misstatements in the process.
Carole McManus, a retired teacher attended the Neptune Beach meeting and said that the panel was guarded and allowed speakers unlimited time to run out the clock on negative comments. Apparently the panel learned from their experience in Yulee to control the mic.
Pat McBride said: “With CCSS privacy is out the window. The DOE will get many student records with highly sensitive data like religion and gun ownership. The IRS shows that we can’t trust the Federal Government with our personal, private information.”
Commissioner Stewart responded that only the local school has access to a limited amount of student data, and the Federal Government only has data in the aggregate. Commissioner Stewart’s response was misleading and deceptive. According to Joy Pullmann of the Heartland Institute, schools must supply test data to the Federal Government. Each record does remove the name, but a unique ID is assigned. According to a statistician at the Kentucky Board of Education, the student data can be mined and within an 86% degree level of confidence, the student can be identified. Furthermore, the USDOE is provided a suggested data model to the states with 416 data points including the student’s religion, gun ownership, family political affiliations and so forth. As of this moment, states are adopting this data model. The model is currently voluntary, but the CCSS testing conventions PARCC require the states to collect the student data. So it is only a matter of time before the data model is mandatory. Furthermore, according to Heartland, the Obama data team is working with David Coleman, an author of CCSS and now head of the College Boards, to obtain student data.
Mark Gotz said: “Florida already has good standards. Why are we spending all of this money on CCSS and loosing local control over our curriculum? Shouldn’t we test CCSS is the worst performing states first to see if it works and improves educational standards?”
Commissioner Stewart and Sen. Bean both responded that CCSS is only a standard and that curriculum control remains with the states. However, again Stewart is misleading. CCSS requires accountability and accountability requires testing. PARCC is a national testing convention and administered by crony Pearson, LLC. In addition, David Coleman has stated that the College Boards will be repurposed to be in conformity with CCSS. How can states retain control over their educational standards and curricula if all testing, including college boards, are based on CCSS? They can’t.
Other comments against CCSS:
Diane, a Special Education Teacher asked: “Why are we testing kids with IQ’s of under 25 about the nature of cells? Where is the common sense?”
Carol Romack, a teacher asked: “Why is Florida spending all of this money on an unproven, fake system.”
David Francis, from the American Heart Association said: “Kids are getting stressed about all of the high stakes testing, and all of the curriculum requirements are causing exercise class to be cancelled. Kids need exercise.”
Debbie Gonzales said: “The Common Core has historic roots in socialism through indoctrination. CCSS will take authority away from the states and ”
Clearly the speaking panel failed to convince the skeptics that CCSS is good for Florida.