Common Core and Other Challenges Face Rick Scott in Forming New Education Team

By: Jeff Henderson | Posted: August 9, 2013 3:55 AM

Rick Scott

With only 15 months to go until he faces voters for re-election, Rick Scott is forced to confront where he wants to direct education in Florida and who he wants to lead Florida’s schools and universities.

During his time as governor, Scott has tried to build on Jeb Bush’s education reforms, working to build ties between Florida schools and the private sector to prepare students for future jobs. He’s also urged Florida colleges to offer degrees that cost less than $10,000. But in the past year he has looked to appeal to public school teachers, traditionally supporters of Democrats, by vigorously promoting a $2,500-a-year pay raise for each of them.

After two recent resignations of the highest-level members of his education team, Scott is forced to shuffle the deck with the state’s education leadership. Conservatives had high hopes for Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett based on his record, but he resigned under pressure after a scandal surfaced from his time as education commissioner in Indiana. Bennett had been accused of improving the grade of a charter school connected to a major Republican donor. Though he flatly denied wrongdoing, he said he would resign to spare Scott the distraction of a scandal. It's left the governor with the need to find a replacement.

Former Gov. Bush, chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Foundation for Florida’s Future, had angry words for those who forced Bennett's demise. "Florida’s students will feel the loss of his leadership the most," Bush wrote in a Miami Herald oped. "Those who stooped to nasty political tactics to undermine Tony should be ashamed. They protect their self-interest at the expense of our next generation."

Besides a new education commissioner, Scott will have to find someone to lead on higher education, too. State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan, 59 and near the end of his contract, resigned Wednesday to do the same job in Pennsylvania. On Thursday, John Delaney, president of the University of North Florida and a former interim chancellor, said he had no interest in filling Brogan’s shoes.

Time is not on Scott’s side on either appointment, though filling the education commissioner position is more pressing. Scott has already put off naming a new lieutenant governor after five months, but he doesn’t have the luxury of waiting on selecting a new education team. Making the timing even worse, many schools and universities across the state are set to open in the coming weeks. Fates have conspired to make education a leading talking point at a time when Scott no doubt had hoped to move on.

Apart from personnel, Scott has to face implementing the new Common Core State Standards, a bone of contention among some conservatives. Many continue to question and oppose them, even though they are backed by many prominent Republicans. Just like Bush, Scott has been a supporter of Common Core. During his time in Indiana and his brief tenure in Florida, Bennett was a strong supporter of the new standards. Whoever Scott names to replace Bennett will have to deal with implementing -- perhaps even reaffirming -- Common Core.

With the governor expected to face a tough race in 2014, whomever he names to replace Bennett will be under pressure to set the table for Common Core while keeping conservatives in line. It’s a tough assignment, to be sure -- with Scott himself watching, all the while falling deeper into the pressure cooker.

Tallahassee political writer Jeff Henderson wrote this analysis exclusively for Sunshine State News.

Comments (10)

common core not so common after all
7:17AM MAY 11TH 2014
that Common Core -- rather than enhancing thinking -- is actually replacing critical thinking skills with emotional based outcomes. This is something liberals have perfected -- basing decisions on emotion and not rational thinking. Is Common Core the final tool of the left to wrestle full control of our children from their parents?
Do high school students no longer need to read Plato’s “Republic” in the ninth grade, or “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” in tenth? Do we no longer need to read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or Lincoln’s anti-slavery response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision?
Perhaps this is why Common Core is moving towards more "informational texts" and "sexualized stories" rather than the reading of my youth, such as George Orwell's "Animal Farm" or "1984" which is explicitly about critical thinking (and liberty). The classics by Shakespeare and John Milton are being replaced by “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult and "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison and "Dreaming in Cuban" by Christina Garcia. Look them up, they all have vulgar language and pornography.
So within Common Core, we can debate whether the Holocaust is true, but…
• Can we debate global warming or global cooling?
• Can we debate macro evolution or intelligent design?
• Can we debate Common Core?
• Can we debate the harm of an invasion of illegals?
• Can we debate abortion? Whether it stops a beating heart?
• Can we debate if second hand smoke is actually deadly?
• Can we debate the harmful effects of legalizing marijuana?
• Can we debate the cultural harm of same-sex marriage?
• Can we debate the personal harm of homosexuality?
• Can we debate whether a property owners rights trump a rat or tortoise?
• Can we debate historical fallacies in the History Alive! textbook?
• Can we debate the 1,400 years of Islamic terror, slavery and murder?
• Can we debate whether jihadists are actually following Islamic holy texts?
• Can we debate whether or not the First Amendment applies beyond Congress?
• Can we debate whether or not the Second Amendment protects an individual right?
• Can we even debate at all in America anymore?
The simple answer to these questions is no. Liberals, progressives, journalists, the media, Hollywood, professors, universities, administrators, government -- nearly everyone on the left (with Jeb Bush and cronies on the so called right!) and the institutions they control has determined there is no debate -- these things are settled and no further discussion is allowed. Bring them up and you are considered a public nuisance, at best, and a threat to the public safety, at worst. You might even get arrested if you read out loud from one of the Common Core textbooks.
You see, liberals have a copyright on "Intelligence" and anyone trying to use it; is to be shouted down or sued.
The left will shut you down -- not with speeches, but with single words, slung like arrows, shot like bullets. They will label you racist, sexist, bigot, prejudiced, intolerant, homophobic, or Islamophobic.
How do these words shut down debate and take effect, you might ask? You might recall the poetic words of yesterday, "Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me." But today these words are no longer valid, for the words used by liberals are more than mere descriptions -- they are weapons, like the exploding money bag that splatters the thief with purple dye. Your name is discolored and you are thereby deemed a political leper forever more.
One word arguments, that's what is in the liberal's quiver. And they have the chutzpah to call other people narrow minded?
I recommend every parent seek out the reading list for the school in which their child attends and make sure the standards of your school are higher than the standards of Common Core or the superintendents who defend it.
8:24PM AUG 14TH 2013
scott will have a hard time finding any quality people. first he's gone after 2014 and everyone knows it. second no one wants to get fired a yr later by the new governor. common core needs work, while the principles are good, it's implementation and evaluation elements are incomplete and confusing.
as far as jeb goes, his education initiatives have been a complete failure. he needs to fade away.
A teacher
2:44PM AUG 10TH 2013
The $2,500 pay raise is a sham. Our district is giving $400 for each year of service a teacher has in this county capping out at 6 years. This is because the state has not properly funded the districts to give the full $2500 to every teacher.
4:13PM AUG 9TH 2013
"angry words," the journalists editorial comments, trying to lead the reader with journalists opinion on a quote.

A poorly written article, while the title subject of the article is not really gotten to.
3:29PM AUG 9TH 2013
Just in case you don't want to be bothered to go to the website, I am pasting in the anchor reading standards from the Common Core below. Again, feel free to explain any governmental 'programming' that these standards may offer:

Key Ideas and details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific
textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting
details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Craft and Structure
4. Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and
figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
5. Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g.,
a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
6. Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as
well as in words.*
8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well
as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the
approaches the authors take.
range of reading and Level of text Complexity
10. Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
3:26PM AUG 9TH 2013
I challenge all of those who posted to actually read the standards and explain how they program the government's agenda:

www dot corestandards dot org/the-standards

Apparently, you can't post direct links as an anti-spam measure, but follow the one above and READ them!
10:28AM AUG 9TH 2013
How can conservators like Bennett but hate CC? Bennett is gone and now CC must go.
Patricia Graefe
9:20AM AUG 9TH 2013
Common Core is not for students; it is for programming the Government's agenda. Get rid of it, now.
just me
9:06AM AUG 9TH 2013
No, Jeb you should be ashamed, you and you capitalistic cronies! Get out of Florida government. Scott, go anti common core or you will not win the next election.
8:39AM AUG 9TH 2013
Common Core is just another way the government is trying to push its agenda. Very scary!!!

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