Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Scott Bails On Common Core

From the Miami Herald:

TALLAHASSEE After a summer of polarizing public debate, Gov. Rick Scott on Monday ordered the state education department to withdraw from a national consortium creating tests around the new Common Core State Standards.

Scott was facing mounting pressure from Tea Party groups to both jettison the national standards and pull out of a multi-state consortium developing exams that will replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests in 2014-15.

His decision represents something of a compromise.

The governor did not dismiss the benchmarks, which are already being taught in schools statewide. But he signed an executive order ending Florida’s relationship with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and raising Tea Party-inspired concerns about federal overreach.

“Unfortunately, PARCC has become a primary entry point for the involvement of the federal government into many of these state and local decisions,” Scott wrote in a follow-up letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “The federal government, however, has no constitutional authority to involve itself in the state-level decisions on academic standards and assessments.”

This won’t mean much to people outside of the education racket, but it’s a big deal for two reasons.

The first is mentioned in the article: Gov. Scott is following the paranoid Tea Party line that anything from the federal government is inherently evil unless it’s FEMA relief, and second, running away from Common Core — a plan designed by governors outside of Washington, by the way — will not improve the education of Florida children.

The reason for the cave-in to the Tea Party is simple; they’re his base and he’s running for re-election next year.  The second is a little more complicated, but suffice it to say that for all the issues that come with standardized tests and goals, there should be at least a benchmark for students who want to compete for jobs, careers, and colleges in states outside of their own, and having a foundation of comparison is one part of it.

Apparently it’s more important to Rick Scott that he keep his current job than for the kids of Florida to find a good one.