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House Education 'Clean Up' Bill Becomes Target Of Common Core Opponents

National Governors Association

What was supposed to be a simple hearing on a legislative clean-up bill Wednesday became the latest debate over Common Core learning standards in Florida.

Lake City Republican Representative Elizabeth Porter is carrying a House Education Committee bill that would delete old references and language from Florida’s statutes.

The bill includes references to groups such as the Florida Board of Regents, which at one time oversaw the state’s public university system. That group has been replaced by the Florida Board of Governors. It also gets rid of references to the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test and replaces those with “statewide standardized assessment”, because the FCAT exams are on their way out and the state hasn’t picked a new test yet. But the removal of references to Common Core drew complaints from groups like Randy Osborne’s Florida Eagle Forum—which is opposed to the new math and language arts standards the state is implementing:

“Removing references to Common Core in statute does not remove Florida from the Common Core system. Making” minor changes” does not fix the problems with Common Core. All of these maneuvers are creating a perception of deception," told the House K-12 Subcommittee.

Other groups opposed to Common Core also expressed similar concerns, leading Representative Dave Hood (R-Daytona Beach Shores) to say, "The part that bothers me is that all we’ve done is put lipstick on a pig."

Hood says he wants to see some kind of chart comparing what the bill does now versus what the Legislature approved several years ago related to Common Core. House Education Committee Chairwoman Janet Atkins points out the bill has no effect on standards or on what students are learning. That job, she notes, is up to the state board of education. And a decision won’t be made until later in the month:

Atkins: I think as we move forward we’ll get the chart you’re asking for, after the Feb. 18 meeting of the state board of education...right now we have a list of recommendations proposed to that board.

Hood: So you’re telling me, wait until Feb. 18 and we’ll have the answers?

Atkins: I can’t tell you what the State Board of Education will do two weeks prior...but it’s prudent for us to wait for them to make their decision. They have statutory authority. And then, we’ll know.”  

Atkins says other issues, like protecting students’ personal data, are being handled through other bills pending in the Legislature.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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