One Issue Could Be Disruptive to Rick Scott's Re-Election Hopes

By: Lloyd Brown | Posted: March 4, 2014 3:55 AM
From the Right Coast

Anything can happen in politics but is it possible that conservatives in Florida will help depose a conservative governor?

Gov. Rick Scott is up for re-election, with Florida leading most other states in clawing its way out of the stagnant economy and improving government schools.

Yet, it is the latter that has some on the right displeased.

Florida is some 15 years into successful reforms that include higher standards, accountability and choice.

In the same vein, there is a movement toward what are called the Common Core standards. Opponents are angry at Scott, even though he appears to be amenable to slowing the adoption of Common Core in Florida.

Opponents resent the role of the federal government, which is understandable.

But they also complain about the curriculum.

There is no curriculum.

Standards are one thing. They establish what children should learn -- i.e., “Christopher Columbus landed in the West Indies in 1492.”

Materials and methods used to instruct children are the curriculum.  States and local school boards establish the curriculum and would continue to do so under Common Core.

If some wacky liberal politicians in a school district want children in the government schools to be told that Columbus landed in 1492 but he was a monster who waged genocide among the noble savages, they can do so now.

This would continue to be the case under Common Core.

Meanwhile, school officials in the Panhandle could adopt curriculum that teaches students that the voyages of Columbus established a link between the Old World of Europe and the New World of the Western Hemisphere that had vast benefits for the entire world.

Actually, there are no history standards. There are only math and English standards. Here is one: “Know that numbers that are not rational are called irrational. Understand informally that every number has a decimal expansion; for rational numbers show that the decimal expansion repeats eventually, and convert a decimal expansion which repeats eventually into a rational number.”

How is that a threat to anyone?

Parents and taxpayers should monitor what is being taught in government schools and how it is being taught. They should resist the continual efforts of the federal government to intrude on this local function, as well.

But conservative parents and taxpayers might rue the day they help oust a conservative governor who is supporting progress while demonstrating fiscal responsibility. In his address to the Legislature as it opens today, Scott probably will talk about a record $18.8 billion for the public schools coupled with $500 million in tax relief while citing Florida's success in paying down debt and helping businesses create jobs.

The alternative seems to be, at the moment, a rudderless ex-governor whose tenure was woefully unexceptional, or a last-moment choice from among a pantheon of left-wing politicians all too willing to mimic the willful policies of the federal welfare state.

Decisions on such a choice should not be based on a single issue, unless it is one of overwhelming importance and there are more appealing alternatives.

Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Tags: News, Columns

Comments (3)

12:05PM MAR 4TH 2014
Sorry LLoyd,

You should have investigated the talking points you rolled out here first. The curriculums will be determined by the requirement to be aligned. The CCSS was mandated to Florida by their acceptance of the Race To The Top grants. That same set of grants was used to purchase controll of the development of CCSS assessments through the PARCC Consortium which actually had a Federal Oversight board reviewing the development of the standards. Next, in SB 2120 in 2011, the state eliminated the Curriculum Review board in favor of "subject matter experts" appointed by our political Florida Commissioner of Education. That means that adoption of curriculum materials is based in reviews by a very select few., none of whom are parents. The list is then passed to the locals who can pick any of thos eapproved curriculum texts. Lastly, all that is foor naught becasue the Race To The Top mandates also require we provide a back door for the Federal Government to bypass all curriculum review processes and allows them to deliver curriculum materiasl through the Learning Registry, all ranked and scored for "usefulness" by Barack Obama's Education Department. It would do your credibility better to refrain from being used to disseminate propaganda.

We need to pass SB 864 by Hays to fix the curriculum issues, we also need to pass HB 25 by Mayfield to stop this. It was revealed at the 2/18/2014 FLBOE meeting (the meeting where they insulted parents by "rebranding" common core) that the mandate to deliver curriculums digitally (another mandate adopted from Race To The Top in SB 2120 in 2011) may very well cost Florida citizens over $3.0 billion dollars. How is that for a "DEAL". Obama pays us $700 million dollars and forces on us mandates that will cost $5.0 billion dollars. How stupid are we?
Kym Elder
9:04AM MAR 4TH 2014
To conclude that any state level politician automatically knows better than a professional educator what should be in the curriculum is a specious assumption. That is like saying politicians should get an automatic license to conduct brain operations just because they are elected to the Florida Senate.
12:06PM MAR 4TH 2014
The LAST people we should allow to make critical decisions on education is a politician...and only if they have a bigger gun.

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