Despite Good Intentions, Common Core Is Wrong for Florida

By: State Rep. Debbie Mayfield | Posted: September 20, 2013 3:55 AM
Debbie Mayfield Mugshot

Rep. Debbie Mayfield

With the noble and lofty goal of improving education in America, a group of educators and leaders in the education reform movement came together to develop a national set of standards in the hope that our educational system in the various states would meet a common standard and impart a common base of knowledge for all children in America.

Under the mantra of accountability and increased student achievement, they launched -- and a growing number of states have adopted -- what is called Common Core State Standards.

Like so many well-intentioned ideas, the luster of this one quickly fades upon closer scrutiny.

Any state that adopts this national standard willingly cedes a portion of its educational authority; shifting authority and control from the state to this national scheme. And what does the state get in return?

Common Core proponents argue the benefit is increased educational standards and the expectation of improved student achievement. When I looked into this claim I found it lacking. In fact, after thoroughly analyzing the standards contained in Common Core it is clear to me that Florida gives up much more than it gains by adopting these national standards.

A study by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute comparing Florida’s current Next Generation Sunshine State Standards to the Common Core State Standards found Florida’s mathematics standards better than those in Common Core and concluded that “Florida’s standards are generally excellent. They are well-organized and well-written, and cover nearly all the essential content with both depth and rigor. The high school standards are particularly strong, extending coverage to include STEM-ready material.”

In addition the study also states “Florida’s standards are exceptionally clear and well-presented and they are easier to read and follow than Common Core. Standards are briefly stated and further clarified with the use of additional remarks/examples that explicate the content expectations so the reader knows exactly what is expected. In addition, the high school content is organized so that the standards dealing with specific topics, such as quadratic functions, are grouped together in a mathematically coherent way. The organization of the Common Core is more difficult to navigate …”

Because Florida’s Sunshine State Standards for education already nearly meet or exceed those proposed in Common Core I see no benefit to inviting more Washington involvement in the education of our kids. Given Washington’s track record, our children are better off without them.

Debbie Mayfield is a Republican representative for the Florida House's District 54 -- predominately the northern Treasure Coast. She was first elected to the Legislature in 2008.


Comments (17)

Alina Ramirez
4:07PM DEC 11TH 2013
CCSS has many problems; in Florida, it is also plagued with unethical decisions, apparent Statutes violations and Federal interference in State Rights -- you be the judge.
- in 2006 Florida had Sunshine State Standards for Math & English Language Arts,
- the 2006 Florida Statutes further directed the Florida DOE/BOE to review and update all SSS standards within 6-year cycles to ensure their constant pedagogical pertinence and excellence,
- as a result, new 2007 SSS were developed, at least for Math & ELA,
- the 2008 Florida Statutes further directed the Florida DOE/BOE to develop standards even more rigorous and challenging than the 2007 SSS, to label this revision the Next Generation SSS and to complete the process by December of 2011,
- from 11/2008 to 7/2009 the Math & ELA standards were under review for development of NGSSS, however the process was cut short by a ‘suspend’ directive from Florida’s DOE/BOE’s which had decided to develop ‘consortium’ standards, CCSS, through ACHIEVE, a National Governors Association and Council Chiefs of State Schools Organization spin-off (all three private-Fed-Funded non-profits centrally operating in Wash D.C. & NGA members not acting in elected official capacity),
- Note: the results and utilization of the standards reviewed and updated w/n the 8 month period above are unclear; only the material developed during that time-frame or later could have been labeled Next Generation because the pertinent Statutes directives are dated 2008 – however, DOE has labeled the 2007 SSS as Next Generation,
- in 5/2010, 2 to 7months (depending on the timeline used) prior to CCSS’s adoption by DOE/BOE, Florida filed an application for a Race To The Top Federal Stimulus Grant which rewarded States, pledging to adopt ‘consortium’ standards/assessments, with a higher qualifying score,
- in 7/2010, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, also a D.C., Fed/Privately funded entity was reconstituted to Comparatively Review all individual State standards against CCSS; Florida’s 2006 SSS ELA standards were used for the comparison & we scored almost equal to CCSS; however, why were not our superior 2007 SSS used for the comparison? Would we have scored higher than CCSS, perhaps even an A. With reference to Math we scored higher than CCSS (A vs. A-), but it is unclear which Florida SSS standards TBFI used as the base,
- between July & December of 2010, CCSS was adopted at the State level (BOE/DOE), with hardly any Local Boards of Ed input and apparently total absence of individual PTSAs participation (the Regional and the State PTA/PTSA have little knowledge of the CCSS process as well),
- 9/24/2010 the Feds awarded $700M of RTTT to Florida,
- on 9/28/2010 PARCC & SBAC, both non-profits under ACHIEVE & NGA/CCSSO (copyright owners of CCSS), received $362M Fed funds for R & D of CCSS’s assessment tests.

In summary, Educational Policy is reserved to the States, the locally elected boards of education and teachers/parents who must act as the ultimate filters. It is difficult enough to interact with local City Halls, and close to impossible to access and input into distant D.C. centralized, private bureaucrats all Federally funded.

We are fortunate in the U.S. to be a Federation; 50 unique Constitutions, 50 laboratories – if one fails, 49 others are awaiting to take the lead -- it is competition and innovation, not ‘centralized standards’, that made us the World’s Superpower. Finally, by allowing Federal Funding to by-pass State elected officials in favor of ‘non-elected private non-profits’ we weaken our representative government; he/she who holds the purse strings holds the power and, only if elected, can he/she be held accountable at the ballot box.
Dan Wilson
8:36PM SEP 23RD 2013
As a top-down, centralized scheme for standardizing our educational process, Common Core can only be the result of cronyism or insanity. Since the US Department of Education was (unconstitutionally) established during the 1970s, American education has done no more than slog through the metaphorical mud. Any improvement in student performance has been minute. Jeb Bush's overenthusiastic support of Common Core and his irrational and virulent attacks on its opponents make me question his motivation. I voted for him twice (and for his father and brother), but his position on education makes no sense.
Jeb Bush the Common Core champion
3:16PM SEP 23RD 2013
Gov. Rick Scott is expected to tell U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan that Florida will withdraw from the Common Core assessment test, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
The governor’s decision to pull out of PARCC comes after several high-profile Florida legislators expressed opposition to the test, including Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, who condemned the assessment , our schools, teachers, and families have worked too hard for too long for our system to collapse under the weight of an assessment system that is not yet developed, designed or tested.”
But we can’t not get excited yet because as with all government moves it appears this may only be a farce for Rick Scott to make brownie points with those who oppose Common core.
Once they dump PARCC, per the RTTT grants they will be “required” to be part of a consortium. One possibility would be to partner with Alabama. They withdrew and went with ACT Aspire. This would be just a head fake as that organization is controlled by David Coleman the architect of the Common Core, and the Aspire products all “align with common core” in a manner that still ensures Federal control. We have to go back into state law and undo the mandates passed into law in the SB 2120 in 2011 that wove Federal control over education into state statute.
The Republican Party is divided about the Common Core standards. Can’t imagine that if they read the idiotic requirements like the “Bluest Eye.”
The Republican National Committee has come out in opposition to the Common Core, calling it “an inappropriate over reach to standardize and control” education. Senator Charles Grassley wants to defund the Common Core.
But Jeb Bush is one the loudest cheerleaders for the Common Core. When his sidekick Tony Bennett lost the state superintendent job in Indiana, In part because of Tea Party opposition to Common Core, Jeb Bush made sure he landed on his feet as state commissioner in Florida.
Now Jeb has declared in TIME that David Coleman, the architect of the Common Core, is one of the world’s 100 most influential people. Jeb adores the Common Core. So do the high-tech corporations that back Jeb’s Foundation for Educational Excellence. The Republicans will have to duke this out over the next few years. Do they support federal control or local control? State standards or federal standards?
Jeb Bush the Common Core champion
6:53AM SEP 22ND 2013
In March 2012, Republican Congressional Candidate JAMES “ JIMMY” JETT went public with a blockbuster accusation.
Jett, the former Clay County Clerk of the Circuit Court, announced a pair of prominent supporters of then-Congressman Cliff Stearns had sought to bribe him to drop out of the race for a new congressional seat. He said the pair was none other than Jim Horne and Jud Sapp.
He said Jim Horne, formerly Florida's Education Secretary, who as a Senator was a key cog in then Governor Jeb Bush’s plans for education reform and was in fact tapped by Governor Bush in 2001 to take the reins of the Nation’s first ever K-20 system of education. The Senator resigned a year early on his senate term of office to become the state’s first ever appointed by Jeb Bush as Commissioner of Education.
As Commissioner he took on the challenge of reorganizing three separate delivery systems (Universities, Community Colleges and K-12) into one efficient seamless system of education. Jim was also responsible for implementing the most robust education reforms in the Nation and overseeing the distribution of the entire K-20 budget of nearly $20 billion dollars. [Just chicken feed for these criminals!]
But, more importantly; “Horne was the catalyst behind many of the education reforms spearheaded by Governor Bush and that are now national models.” Now he’s going around sending messages on behalf of whom?
Jett also said; Jud Sapp, a prominent Clay County businessman — acted with Stearns' full knowledge in offering him federal jobs or money to repay campaign loans. Jett claimed that Stearns offered him a job on his campaign staff or cash to cover the approximately $25,000 Jett has personally spent on his congressional run.

Jett was also quoted as saying he was told there could be a job heading the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or a U.S. marshal position once there are vacancies.
Jett says the FBI holds the evidence of the plot. A pair of Special Agents Byron Thompson and Blanka Sanchez Gilbert — recorded both Sapp and Horne’s discussions of the proposals at his home in nearly identical phone calls from both men relaying the offers. Offering a federal job “ ‘as consideration, favor or reward' for political support” is a violation of federal law!
Yet the sensational allegations fizzled almost as quickly as it emerged, and Jett's calls for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to explain why it soured on pursuing his accusations have gone unanswered!
Jett says he also believes high-ranking FBI officials in Washington pulled back on the agents for fear of implicating not just one sitting congressman but also Speaker of the House John Boehner.
Boehner visited Clay County at the time on a fundraising swing with Stearns.
Jett, meanwhile, filed his initial FOIA request with the FBI on Dec. 26. They concluded that Jett had not clearly demonstrated “that the public interest in disclosure outweighs the personal privacy interest (of those he named) and that significant public benefit would result from the disclosure of the requested records.” Jett challenged that in a response letter, calling the public interest “substantial.”
“The investigation involved elected public officials, candidates for public office and influential supporters of congressional candidates involved in the electoral process, as well as attempts to influence and corrupt this electoral process,” Jett wrote.
Jeb Bush the Common Core champion
4:18PM SEP 21ST 2013
Debates are erupting across the country over the “Common Core” educational standards adopted by 45 states, but the controversy has especially deep significance in Florida. This, after all, is home of Jeb Bush, a Common Core champion and still the most influential GOP leader in the state.
Gov. Rick Scott’s position on Common Core remains a bit murky as tea party activists and others agitate to scrap the standards. The most common factor cited? Jeb Bush.
“Jeb Bush is too powerful in Florida Republican politics and he normally gets what he wants,” said one Democrat.
From a Republican: “The (Florida GOP) is more afraid of Jeb Bush than they are their voters, so all of this is a lot of noise - Common Core is going to happen.” it will push politicians to take public positions that they privately concede are stupid. Common Core will die, and Florida will confirm its status as the Wacko State.”
"If Rick Scott can grow a pair & withstand Tea Party pressure, he won't mess w/Common Core, though I expect him to try avoid it like a venereal disease thru election," said another Republican.
Offered a Democrat: “The fact that this debate is even happening in Tallahassee shows that the era of Jeb in Tallahassee is over.”
sure it does
8:13AM SEP 21ST 2013
And not only the nine year old student story below but "The Bluest Eye is a 1970 novel by American author Toni Morrison" is required reading by the junior year.

Janet, this country and the world is full of fools who have long been led down the primrose path at the hand of someone by the name of Bush going all the way back to the early 1900's with Samuel Prescott Bush. They have aided and abetted the nazi's for years and along with their partner obama they are in high gear with their new world order mission.

The FCAT was jeb's first step to program our youth.

If you are simply a teacher who wants to do what is RIGHT for the STUDENTS!!!! - you your head back into the daylight and get online and find the supporting documents on this massive mission including The Guelen Muslim movement connected directly to Jeb Bush.

We do not need another nut job like Tara Holder handing out happy candy. We need people who will get off their butt's educate themselves so they can in fact save our children!!!
Janet Johnson
9:40PM SEP 20TH 2013
I am an educator and I have seen many initiatives for more rigorous standards come and go. The only clear fact that we have now is: the system in place is not working! FCAT has become a political agenda where good money continues to chase after bad. The intent of the common core is NOT to dictate what the students are learning (that is clearly stated in the NGSS already in place in the state), but the level of mastery the students need to be able to demonstrate with the state standards. The common core is not a curriculum. It is simply a tool that provides teachers a way to assess mastery of the concepts by identifying specific tasks that each student should be able to perform. We have heard for many years that teachers need to help students develop critical thinking and reasoning skills. For the first time a document actually explains what this should look like. We can no longer continue to dig the same hole deeper if we ever want our students to get out of the pit! If you could see the common core in action, you would know that this is the best thing to come along in decades!! I am not worried about political or personal agendas. I am simply a teacher who wants to do what is RIGHT for the STUDENTS!!!!
2:34PM SEP 21ST 2013
Janet, explain books written by Bill Ayers, Arnie Duncan, how the 2nd amendment is changed in the history books ....what about data collection?? Please do your research.
yes bush is behind it
3:40PM SEP 20TH 2013
Pat Lavins common core covers all facets of the educational process private, charter and home schooling as well. It is NWO programming.

and yes Jeb Bush is behind it. It was Bush who got the governors association to put it together to begin with.
1:03PM SEP 20TH 2013
‘Pimp’ and ‘mobstaz’: Mother shocked over Common Core 4th-grade homework
A mother in Vermillion Parish, La., was shocked when her 9-year-old son brought home a fourth-grade homework assignment that used urban slang for the word “twist.” Who wouldn’t be?

Brittany Badeaux was helping her son with homework, when in the midst of explanations of tornadoes and the 1950’s dance craze, the Twist, the worksheet offered historical background on“twista” saying:

Carl Terrell Mitchell, better known by his stage name Twista, was born in 1972. Nineteen years later Mitchell’s first album, “Runnin’ Off at da Mouth,” debuted. In 1997, after appearing on Do or Die’s hit “Po Pimp,” Twista was signed to Atlantic Records. Under that label he released “Adrenaline Rush” and formed the group Speedknot Mobstaz in 1998. His 2004 album Kamikaze went to number-one in the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart.

“I try to instill values in my son,” Brittney Badeaux, the boy’s mother, told Fox News. “My goal is for him to ultimately to become a great man, a family man, a well-rounded man. And now my son wants to know what a pimp is.”

Parish School Superintendent Jerome Puyau told local radio station KPEL that the assignment met the Common Core standards adopted by Louisiana.

“Part of the Common Core is what they call ‘real-world text,’” Puyau told the radio station. “What are our students reading? Are these students going to see this on the shelves in our department stores? And the answer is yes. If you search it, the first thing that comes up is the actual song ['Po Pimp']. This is real-world.”

Common Core has left parents scratching their heads as to how – and why – the new standards were developed. According to Fox News:

The Common Core State Standards initiative is a plan devised by the nation’s governors and backed by the Obama administration to set a uniform standard for grades K-12. In practice, it will ensure that every child in the nation reaches the same level of learning. So far, 45 states have agreed to use Common Core – including Louisiana.

“The Common Core curriculum, like it or not, we have to make our students successful,” Puyau told Fox News. “We foresee that our students will not be successful unless with align everything to the Common Core standards.”

After reviewing the assignment, Puyau conceded that the paragraph in the assignment was not appropriate for 9-year-olds, even though it was approved under Common Core standards for that age group.

“We are going to edit and audit everything that comes through,” he told Fox News. “In southwest Louisiana, we do have high morals. We’re going to utilize everything that we have to ensure our parents that what they are reading is appropriate to grade level.”
11:10AM SEP 20TH 2013
I emailed Representative David Santiago and Senator Dorothy Hukill here in Volusia County expressing my concerns.

Briefly, with three kids in Volusia County Schools we are noticing the changes and see that this is a disaster in the making. In fact, after going to the schools's Open House, the teachers' seem frustrated by these rules and that the "One size fits all" mentality that is associated with Common Core is not conducive to a learning environment.

There are FOUR reasons that I am not supportive of CC:

1. This has been thrusted upon my kids and kids throughout 45 states by politicians who either have kids who have graduated or can afford to send their kids to private school. It is a "do as I say and not as I do," mentality that is not sitting well with many! I resent my kids being used as Guinea Pigs for some political agenda.

2. The skimpy results that have come out have not been promising. Kentucky, according to the US News and World Report dated December 4, 2012, reported that, "...the state saw high school proficiency scores in reading and math fall."

3. The Federal Government needs to get the heck out of Education.

4. In the end, the best educators are parents. No matter how much money is spent and no matter how much tinkering is done by paper pushing bureaucrats within the Education Department and clueless politicians who are so out of touch with voters, Common Core will not work! Too many kids do not have parents involved in education. A quick example is when I had a Parent/Teacher Conference for my son in 2nd grade in May of 2011. We were reviewing scores and going over grades. I noticed that my son was reading at a127 words/minute with no mistakes. The base score to pass in Volusia County is 97 WPM. The teacher made a comment that half the kids in her class are either at 97 or below. I asked her why that is and she simply said, "lack of parental involvement."

Finally, I do want to say that I want the best for my kids and for all kids. I am not opposed to higher standards and higher criteria, but I am not convinced that CC is the best measuring tool to advance our society. In its current form it will be a waste, be to restrictive, creating unreasonable "critical thinking" strategies like 2 + 2 = 5.
Pat Lavins
9:58AM SEP 20TH 2013
As usual, Debbie Mayfield is wrong. Common Core has been implemented in over 30 states with no problem. The failure to implement Common Core would mean that Florida continues to lag behind other states. The major benefit of Common Core is that it allows students in Florida to transfer to schools in other states with no transition problems. It is absurd to claim that Florida would sede its authority to the Federal government solely because of Common Core.
4:42PM SEP 20TH 2013
The state did not "sede" (cede is correct term) to the Federal Government over Common Core. They ceded sovereignty over education to the Federal Government for the $700 million dollar bribe paid them in the Race to the Top Grants and all the other grants they received before that where the Federal Government required them to cede sovereignty incrmentally. This is about Federal control period, it is not about Common Core, that is just the tip of the iceberg, although ione size fits all is wrong for our children. What is more wrong is wresting control away from parents and their school boards their righfull authority in deciding what is best for their children. Common Core is just the most visible part of this but it is wrong. Combined with all the other mandates in the Race to the Top Grants and the ARRA grants, the amount of control wrested by the Federal Government amounts to big statist government control over our children...the so called village is now raising your child, not you.
what good intentions
5:32AM SEP 20TH 2013
Glad she is opposed but once again a trained politician" sugar coats the truth." There are no good intentions to COMMON CORE.

It is a NAZI LIKE national takeover of state education systems by Jeb Bush and the Bush family New World Order movement.

Pushing Common Core; pushing Charter School takeovers of public schools. Neil Bush along with mom and pop and the Saudi Prince take advantage of No Child Left behind with their IGNITE EDUCATION.

And, Oh Yea! It's all for the children!!

These Bushmasters have a master plan for the world and if the people don't get their heads back into the sunshine we will be living in a Nazi state sooner than you think.
Pat Lavins
10:01AM SEP 20TH 2013
News Flash: Neither Jeb Bush nor Neil Bush had no role in the development of Common Core. The Bush family goal is to privatize and profit from turning all education over to the private sector. The last thing that they want to do is to raise educational standards which is what Common Core will do.
1:21PM SEP 21ST 2013
Jeb Bush had no role in the development of Common Core????? Since when? Why did the Miami Herald ask him if he was concerned whether Gov. Scott supported Common Core? He was the one pushing the Board of Governers to adopt this. I'd check your facts.
11:13AM SEP 20TH 2013
If you have kids currently in Public School like I do Pat, then I am all ears, but if not, stop with the "Party Line"!

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