Despite New Name, Critics Unhappy 'Florida Standards' Much Like Common Core

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: February 1, 2014 3:55 AM
Students in school

There’s a new dirty word in Florida education. It’s a name that has gathered controversy over recent months, shrouded with criticism of federal overreach, data mining and academic inferiority. Parents, members of the public and even some teachers called for it to go.

In an effort to establish what the Florida Department of Education calls a “higher set of standards,” the department is dropping the name “Common Core” and replacing it with another title: the Florida Standards. But critics, still not satisfied, claim the name change is just the same product in a new wrapping.

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart called the Florida Standards more rigorous at the State Board of Education’s meeting in January. With nearly 100 proposed modifications to the Common Core standards -- including over 50 in calculus -- the department seemed to indicate that the Florida Standards were a sharp departure from Common Core.

Gov. Rick Scott even hopped on board with the name change, distancing the Sunshine State from the national education standards that have gathered considerable criticism over recent months.

“These are Florida standards,” he said at the Republican Party of Florida’s annual meeting in January. “They’re not some national standards; they’re going to be Florida standards. This is our state. We’re not going to have the federal government telling us how to do our education system.”

Florida isn’t the only state to shed the name “Common Core.” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued an executive order to get the state to stop using the "CC" words. Now, the standards will be referred to as “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.”

Iowa also made the move away from the title. Its standards are now called “The Iowa Core.”

Joe Follick, communications director for the Florida Department of Education, said the change seems to be the "most honest" way to refer to the standards.
"With so many proposed changes since the standards were adopted by the SBOE in 2010, it seems most honest and clear to refer to them all as Florida Standards," he said. " It seems confusing to parents and families to have different names for different subsets of standards, so we will be referring to all of our standards under the name of Florida Standards to avoid confusion."

But opponents of Common Core haven’t let up on their criticism just because the name of the education standards has changed.

"The window dressing changes they've proposed mean absolutely nothing," Chris Quackenbush of Stop Common Core FL told the Sun Sentinel.

The proposed changes to Common Core represent only a small fraction of the standards. There are about 11,000 standards outlining what students need to know in math and language arts. The 98 proposed changes to Common Core, if approved, would equal 0.8 percent of the total standards.

"The rebranding is deceptive, not good," Dr. Karen Effrem of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition told Sunshine State News. "They are trying to get rid of the political toxicity related to Common Core, but have no intention of really changing [the standards]." 

For Effrem and other anti-Common Core groups, the rebranding effort overlooks the testing portion of the standards, which they say is the true issue at hand with regard to data mining and privacy concerns.

"The test companies vying for the state contract are all fully aligned to Common Core," said Effrem.  "The data still goes to the feds. Nothing has changed."

In January, FSCCC spoke out on potential issues with the standards and a new assessment test. 

“These tests are either going to be the federally funded and supervised PARCC or SBAC tests or some other Common Core-aligned national test,” the group wrote. “Individual student test scores will be combined with highly personal student and family data to create academic and psychological profiles of students that will be available to the federal government, researchers, and corporations due to the weakening of the federal student privacy law.”

In August, Florida pulled out of the financial portion of the PARCC assessment test. PARCC does, however, still remain an option to replace the FCAT test, though a specific assessment has not yet been chosen.

The Florida Standards are still set to be fully implemented by the 2014-2015 academic year, the same dates for the full integration of Common Core.

The proposed changes to the Common Core standards will be voted on during the February board meeting, which takes place Feb. 18.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

Comments (10)

Willis Pebble
5:53PM MAR 10TH 2014
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart is only putting lipstick on a pig. The changes only did two basic things. They corrected some of the muddled language in the common core standards which should show us how amateurish they were originally. Secondly, they added content like cursive that will not be tested on the assessments. Given that the teacher evaluation will depend on student assessment result the non-tested additions will probably never be taught.
Florida Children will still get the fuzzy math and the inappropriate and boring ELA selections and new learning material that denigrates individual achievement in favor of one that emphasizes collective, emotionally derived, social change.
Our children will lose any hope of privacy from Pre-K through workforce, gathered by surveys or by recording student responses recorded during the individualized digital lessons and the interactive assessments.
It will also be a good bet that the contracts for lessons and assessments will go to the same corporations that they would have under common core and with PARCC. When Florida’s Chief State school officer, Pam Stewart, announces who will get the contracts for the digital and interactive assessments, it is a good bet that they will be a corporate partner of the CCSSO, Council of Chief State School Officers, who is part owner of common core.
The bright side is that Jeb Bush will continue to get “contributions” for his lobbyist foundations from Bill Gates over and above the 2.5 million he already received. What is a generation of young people’s minds when compared with the possibility of another Clinton\Bush presidential showdown?
Dorothy Jackson
8:38AM FEB 6TH 2014
If we could understand why would mean something to the students,parents and teachers. E.S.E. Parents want to know what is going on with education. We do not need all of this CC, what we need is to get back to the basic. I know for my students thats what they need. The top people do not know what is goig on at many of our schools. I would like to tell them to back off.
real edgamucation
7:48AM FEB 3RD 2014
Is The Gulen Charter School Movement Funded by Heroin Via the CIA?

Court records and the testimony of former government officials show that Fethullah Gulen, who presently resides in Pennsylvania, has amassed more than $25 billion in assets from the heroin route which runs from Afghanistan to Turkey.

Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator, testified that the drug money has been channeled into Gulen’s coffers by the C.I.A.

“A lot of the drugs were going to Belgium with NATO planes,” Ms. Edmonds said. “After that, they went to the UK, and a lot came to the US via military planes to distribution centers in Chicago, and Paterson, New Jersey.”

Ms. Edmonds further said that Turkish diplomats, who would never be searched by airport officials, have come into the country “with suitcases of heroin.”

According to Ms. Edmonds and other government witnesses, Gulen began to receive funding from the CIA in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union when federal officials realized that the U.S. could not obtain control of the vast energy resources of the newly created Russian republics

But the success has come with a price. The only way to provide Gulen with sufficient funds to topple Turkey’s secular regime and to conduct education jihad within the Russian republics came from the poppy fields of Afghanistan.

This scenario serves to explain why US-led coalition troops in Afghanistan are forbidden to firebomb the fields or fumigate the poppies with a chemical herbicide, such as glyphosate.

Despite such testimony and growing concern over Turkey, the Obama administration has opted to turn a blind eye to Gulen and his mountain fortress in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

Turkey has transferred its alliance from Europe and the United States to Russia and Iran. It has moved toward friendship with Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria and created a pervasive anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-America animus throughout the populace.
In addition, Gulen has established thousands of madrassahs (Islamic religious schools) throughout Central Asia where students are indoctrinated in the tenets of militant Islam so they may be of service in the creation of a universal caliphate. –The New World Order.

But the Gulen movement is not confined to Turkey and Central Asia.

As many as fifty are currently operating in Texas alone.

Is Gulen really affiliated with the CIA? Well, he certainly has the support of all the key CIA players from the old Bush days and some, like Marc Grossman are even still in the Obama administration.

In support of his application for permanent residency status, Gulen obtained letters and endorsements, from Graham Fuller and other former CIA officials.

HIS PETITION WAS ALSO ENDORSED BY FORMER UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE MARC GROSSMAN, (special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan); and former Ambassador to Turkey Morton Abramowitz.

Mr. Grossman had to be a Bush-Cheney administration favorite to be appointed as the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the State Department’s third-ranking official, in 2001. In 2004, Grossman attained the Foreign Service’s highest rank when President George W. Bush appointed him to the rank of Career Ambassador.

But then; Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chose a new special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan: a long-time controversial neocon, a man who has been famous for parading as a foreign agent in the lobby circuit, the scandalous former diplomat Marc Grossman. The not-so-gradual resurrection of the old neocon cabal under the Obama administration.

Here is the public response from John Cole after the publication of The American Conservative magazine’s cover story:

“I read the recent cover story by The American Conservative magazine. I applaud their courage in publishing this significant interview. I am fully aware of the FBI’s decade-long investigation of the High-level State Department Official named in this article, Marc Grossman, which ultimately was buried and covered up. It is long past time to investigate this case and bring about accountability…”
real edgamucation
7:46AM FEB 3RD 2014
March 3, 2013 - Charter Schools USA Stonewalls in Refusal to Answer Questions About Relationship With Bush Foundation

Fresh off news that it’s about to build an $11 million charter school in Jacksonville Is this perhaps the reason for the threats from Jim Horne to Jimmy Jett to back out of the race against Cliff Stearns? it’s no surprise that Charter Schools USA wouldn’t want to answer any questions about the entity that’s enabled it’s rise. But when asked to respond to questions about it’s relationship to Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, the charter school corporation sent this to Tampa Tribune reporter William March:

“We’re not interested in being used in an article meant to misrepresent the great work the Foundation for Educational Excellence does to promote positive educational choices for students and parents by improving the performance of public schools in the U.S.”
Attacking a large state newspaper is never a good idea. Especially when your own mouthpieces have been so open about “bad actors” in the charter school industry and are pushing legislation which helps you open more facilities. Charter Schools USA top lobbyist, former education commissioner Jim Horne wrote a bill which would enable his clients to take over at no cost buildings that public schools aren’t using or schools that have been recently closed.
In light of it’s plans to build an expensive new facility and December’s news that Charter Schools USA had secured it’s third multi-million dollar loan since 2010, such a shameless land grab proposal amounts to unwarranted corporate welfare.

As a recipient of taxpayer dollars and an agent in continuing efforts to advance legislation that benefits itself financially, Charter Schools USA is obliged to answer questions from a state newspaper reporter. It’s refusal – in the form of an attack on the integrity of the reporter and his newspaper – is stonewalling at a disturbing level. They must realize that Jeb Bush’s foundation is the key to maintaining their profit margin and will take any action to protect it.

Finally thanks to media outlets they can not control – the questionable Bush connections to everything that’s seems – just not quiet right – are finally coming to light.
4:59PM FEB 2ND 2014
If I understand what I read, your government officials have taken "Common Core" made changes equal to 0.8 percent of the total and renamed this new set of standards, "the Florida Standards". Why should that surprise anyone? Everyone go to your search engine of choice and enter "Carlos Henriquez" . Talk about "brass balls"! Woo hoo!
Wolves in Sheeps Clothing
9:15AM FEB 2ND 2014
This country is full of intelligent people. It is amazing how they have allowed themselves to be duped by a group of people (some with quirky miles on their faces) hell bent on bringing them to their knees.
While there is all kinds of suspicious activities which have mysteriously happened connected to a Bush going back over a century; Samuel; Prescott (including his father-in-law) Walker from whom he named his son George Herbert Walker Bush. Government documents prove Samuel was manipulating arms purchase for ww1. Government documents prove Prescott Bush and his Wall Street “Banksters” financed the build up of Adolph Hitler from 1939 until after the US entered the war. Bush family financed ammunition that Hitler used to killed our American WW2 Troops. Check out the congressional investigations into these facts!
But for the sake of modernism let’s KISS (keep it simple stupid)
Every parent, teacher and other blue blooded American need only to simply do this. Start with researching COMMON CORE from the beginning. COMMON CORE from the beginning.
Research THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT sponsored by President George W. Bush. You will see how it was used by the family to make millions. Investors include Mom and Pop Bush and their Saudi Prince friend! Research the IGNITE LEARNING! Ownership; Neil Bush to obtain those facts.
Now that you have a better understanding of COMMON CORE ask yourself why JEB BUSH was and is the major push behind such an obvious nightmare. Is COMMON CORE really a New World Order program to ready our youth for their final solution?
But even as bad if not worse. Research the JEB BUSH PUSH for our public schools to be converted into Charter Schools while we the taxpayers still have to fund their private for profit charter schools. Jeb’s old FDOE and senate buddie JIM HORNE is the point man for this scheme to defraud teachers, parents, students and the taxpayers of their rights to public education. Jeb’s push for the Florida PARENT TRIGGER BILL which if passed would give parents the right to demand our public schools be turned over to Jeb and his for-profit Charter Schools management friends.
Florida schools Chief Tony Bennett and his staff raised a charter school's grades despite poor test scores.
Bennett and his staff gave the school run by Christel Dehaan a prominent Republican donor an 'A', after test scores in algebra initially earned it a 'C', emails obtained by AP showed.
The schools chief is renowned for promising to hold 'failing' schools accountable. (That is how “they” force schools into their charter movements.)
Now as bad as Jeb Bush and Rick Scott hates the fact that he got caught – he’s gone from Florida – they will have to find him another low profile spot to push their causes.
Wolves in Sheeps Clothing
9:14AM FEB 2ND 2014
Emails showed Tony Bennett discussing with staff the legality of changing just Christel DeHaan's grade Christel DeHaan has given more than $2.8 million to Republicans since 1998, including $130,000 to Bennett and Grades determine how much state funding schools receive

Now do some research on the connections between the Bushes and the Muslim influence in the USA Charter Schools movements.
Research GARY GRAPPO (a Bush operative) and Grappo’s connections to PRINCE MOHAMMAD BIN FAHD – Grappo’s connectons to Islam Gulen Charter Schools in Florida, Texas and throughout the USA. Gary Grappo was appointed Ambassador to Oman by George W. Bush.
And don’t forget to do a little research on Richard (Rick) Lynn Scott the Florida governor who claims it made it big with his mother by starting two donut shops in Kansas City, Mo.
The same Rick Scott who forgot to mention his Dallas, Tx partnership at Johnson & Swanson where he partnered with the likes of Tom Hicks and George W. Bush in the Texas Rangers. And some guy named Rainwater with whom he got into Medicare fraud trained by the likes of one Miguel Recarey with help from Jeb Bush who had direct contact with the movers and shakers in Washington, DC to change the rules to make Medicare fraud a cakewalk.
Miguel Recarey is still on the run from his BILLION’s in Medicare fraud – too bad the rest of his criminal friends didn’t go with him – they are still here “ruining” the State of Florida and the USA with their unprosecuted criminal empire!
And, last but not least; anyone who is dumb enough to fail to see the connections between the Bushes and Obama. It was their man Obama who put into action their RACE TO THE TOP federal program that rewards the states for jumping on the COMMON CORE bandwagon.
When the public gets smart to their schemes they change the names of the schemes. It was George HW Bush who said he had managed to avoid being labeled. That is because it was the Bushes who invented “labeling” as a method to create a divide and conquer atmosphere whereby they could effectively pit one segment of society against another.
6:02PM FEB 1ST 2014
The most galling thing here is the outright arrogance in the manner in which Ms. Stewart and Gary Chartrand and now the Governor are lying to the citizens on this issue. I had expected better from Governor Scott and fully expected it from Stewart and Jeb Bush and the FLDOE cronies of Bush.
4:08PM FEB 1ST 2014
The new "Florida Standards" are not too much like Common Core. They are the very same pig with about 400 tubes of lipstick applied. Pam Stewart is no the copyright, you can see the most recent version on the website. But it is all aruse. The Copyright says that any state that adoptys the common Core "as a whole", is not subject to the copyright. They can add all they want. But since the Federal Governmant owns the only two large tessting consortiums, PARCC and SBAC, they have already said, they are only going to test to the CCSS. I hope the state adds another 200 standards. WE will them nmake them test to all of them and collapse the whole thing. Maybe then they will learn their lesson to not poke their noses where it sdoes not belong. Governance of education is a local matter best handled in the county.
10:04AM FEB 1ST 2014
Until Pam Stewart writes a Letter of Withdrawal, Florida will continue to incorporate Common Core Curriculum Standards. The Copy Rights require All or Nothing, allowing 15% additions but nothing can be removed.

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