Common Core Public Hearings Already Sparking Backlash
Around the State
Public hearings on Common Core State Standards are set to begin Tuesday in Tampa, but they are already setting off a wave of controversy even before they've begun.
Gov. Rick Scott ordered the hearings last month after his office encountered a barrage of backlash over the standards and their assessments from members of the public and legislators across the state.
Last week, Florida Stop Common Core Coalition sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott expressing disappointment over how the public hearings would proceed. They argue that three hours -- the allotted time for the hearings -- is insufficient to gather genuine public opinion.
Co-founder of FSCCC, Dr. Karen Effrem, told Sunshine State News that while Florida’s hearings might seem long, they pale in comparison to similar hearings in other states, which have lasted anywhere from 12 to 15 hours. That, she explains, could put the public at a significant disadvantage because they are given only three minutes to present any opposition to the education standards.
“People are going to be driving from all over the state to come to these hearings and [the department]’s basically going to give them three minutes,” she said.
Effrem also expressed concern that “they’re not allowing experts who have a different view to speak."
Effrem said her coalition continues to ask Gov. Rick Scott questions about the standards, but says their story keeps changing. She said FSCCC was told members of the public would get three minutes "per standard" that they had an issue with, but said that time has been axed to a total of three minutes to voice all concerns about the standards.
“That’s really insufficient,” she said. “[The department] appears not ready to extend the hearings, even if a lot of people show up.”
But FSCCC will be bringing in its own experts whose viewpoints might not exactly correlate with the Florida Department of Education’s on the state standards. One of their experts will be Sandra Stotsky, who was put in charge of the highly praised Massachusetts standards.
Stotsky has been extremely vocal about her opposition to Common Core.
“Common Core’s standards not only present a serious threat to [the] state and local education authority, but also put academic quality at risk,” wrote Stotsky. “Pushing fatally flawed education standards into America’s schools is not the way to improve education for America’s students.”
FSCCC will also be bringing in another expert to speak on the mathematics portion of Common Core.
Opponents of Common Core have also expressed their displeasure over Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and the Florida Department of Education already deciding to move forward with the standards, regardless of what the public thinks.
“It’s a dog and pony show. It’s meant to come to a predetermined outcome,” said Effrem.
Some critics of Common Core say that in order to really fix the underlying issues beneath the standards, there would need to be involvement from Florida legislators, including extended legislative hearings to discuss them. No legislative hearings are currently scheduled.
Tuesday’s hearings will be in Tampa. Two other such hearings are scheduled in Davie and Tallahassee.