By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
Yesterday, in an exclusive interview at Jacksonville Airport, Governor Rick Scott told The Report Card’s Bill Korach that Common Core is no longer the educational standard in the State of Florida. Accompanied by his Educational Policy Director, Dr. Kim McDougal Gov. Scott stated: “The Florida State Standard is THE standard, not Common Core.”
I asked Gov. Scott what he would say to those who claim that The Florida State Standard is just Common Core rebranded.
“The Florida Standard is derived from the Next Generation Sunshine State Standard, which was derived from earlier versions of the Sunshine State Standards. These standards pre-dated Common Core and a truly Florida’s own standards.”
What about Florida’s obligation to the Federal Government from our acceptance of Race to the Top money? Gov. Scott said:
“Race to the Top was a four year grant. That grant has expired, it’s done. We are no longer under obligation to the Federal Government. So we are pushing back against any Federal intrusion into our public schools.
I signed three bills into law that underscore my commitment to local control of our classrooms, and my rejection of top-down, one-size-fits-all Washington, DC management of Florida Schools. CS/HB 864 says that the district school board has final responsibility for ALL instructional material in the classroom. The school board must allow parents to be heard. District school boards can no longer pass the buck to Tallahassee or DC.
CS/SB 188 eliminates the prospect of data mining or any other form of inappropriate data collection. And finally HB 7031 eliminates all references to Common Core national standards in Florida law (italics added by editor).
What about high stakes testing?
“I am committed to high standards, but not teaching to the test. PARCC has been eliminated. We are replacing FCAT with a test developed by American Institute for Research (AIR) that will be administered annually. I am committed to accountability, so I have eliminated tenure for K-12 teachers. I am currently planning implementation of merit pay. I want Florida to have the most rigorous standards in the country, and I think we have made great progress. Florida’s teachers won top score for U.S. teacher quality two years in a row. Our kids lead all other mega-states in achievement gains in 4th and 8th grade reading and math.”
Why the earlier reluctance to denounce Common Core? “I like to be positive and say what I am for, not what I am against. The Chamber of Commerce came out for Common Core, so rather than specifically renounce it, I preferred to say that The Florida State Standard is now 100% a Florida educational standard, but the fact is, Common Core is out.”