Twin Bills in Florida Legislature Attempt to Halt Common Core

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: February 28, 2014 3:55 AM
Greg Evers and Debbie Mayfield

Greg Evers and Debbie Mayfield

The State Board of Education may have unanimously passed nearly 100 proposed changes to Common Core State Standards last week, but Florida legislators in both chambers have bills that would stop the implementation of the new standards entirely.

On Wednesday, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Pensacola, filed a bill in the Florida Senate to pump the brakes on the implementation of the new education standards, which have become the subject of intense scrutiny throughout recent months.

If passed, SB 1316 would prohibit the Florida Department of Education from implementing the standards until the state board holds at least one public hearing in each congressional district of the state.

At least one state board member would be required to attend each meeting.

Additionally, Evers' bill would require a "fiscal analysis" of the projected cost of implementation of the standards by an independent entity "with expertise in the development, implementation, and assessment of curricular standards to conduct the fiscal analysis."

Evers' bill would also require the state to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and would not allow the state to implement assessments aligned to Common Core by PARCC.

"Instead, the state shall adopt and implement new assessments that provide valid, reliable, and timely testing of student performance," reads the bill.

Evers isn’t alone in his legislation. His bill, which is co-sponsored by Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, and Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, is identical to another in the Florida House filed by Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach.

Mayfield’s bill has been praised by anti-Common Core activists as a step in the right direction for putting a pause on the new education standards. Groups of these activists have already rallied behind Mayfield and the bill, vowing to support legislators who fight against the standards.

Karen Effrem of Florida Stop Common Core Coalition told Sunshine State News last week that the FSCCC was working closely with Mayfield and other elected officials who have filed related bills in the Legislature.

Effrem said the position would be widely supported by members of the public who won’t be willing to back down so easily over the standards.

“A lot of parents, teachers, grandparents are very concerned about this, and I don’t think they’re going to take this lying down,” she said.

Critics of the standards have expressed concerns over academic inferiority, data mining and lack of preparation as just a few of the reasons the standards aren’t such a great idea.

But it’s unclear whether the bills will be able to gain traction in the Legislature. Senate President Don Gaetz has already said he doesn’t exactly see the standards in the same light as opponents do.

"You can't dip them in milk and hold them over a candle and see the United Nations flag or Barack Obama's face,” he said last year. “They're not some federal conspiracy."

In an interview with Sunshine State News, Gaetz praised the changes made by Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart and said he backed improving standards in the Sunshine State no matter what program they were included under.

“If the standards are high standards, then I’ll back them,” Gaetz said.

But Gaetz also noted the complexity of the issue.

“The Common Core debate should not be reduced to a bumper-sticker issue,” he explained.

The 2014 legislative session begins Tuesday, March 4.

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

Comments (12)

10:17PM MAR 2ND 2014
Oh my God. As a very conservative Republican, married to a teacher and with two children in the public school system, I am so depressed to read some of the ignorant conspiracy theories left by commenters in regard to this article. Really? In the first place Common Core was recently abandoned by the Florida Board to be replaced by a set of standards crafted narrowly for the State of Florida. Second, 12 x 12 is the same whether you call it Common Core or Next Generation Sunshine State State Standards, third-the Common Core Standards were crafted to mirror approximately 85% of the original Sunshine State Standards. So...if we were even still considering using the CC standards and then refused to allow any standards that were included in CC...then we would abandon almost of our original NGSS Standards. Brilliant. So let's no longer teach addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc., etc. what shall we teach then? BurgerFlipping 101? Because if we outlaw teaching anything that was part of the CC standards, then we can no longer teach any modern math principles at all, that were what we have been teaching all these years anyway. I know, I know...if the conspiracy theorists admit that Common Core has been replaced by a precise set of FLORIDA EDUCATION STANDARDS, they will have lost their vehicle for their 15 minutes of fame, and their mechanism for stirring up their followers, AND their catalyst for speaking engagements that pay pretty darn good money. And this is how the Dems will conquer us, by dividing the good Conservatives and laughing while we are cannabilized by our own, while they take over our once-proud state. May God help us all.
disgruntled conspiracy theorist
12:13PM MAR 1ST 2014
How One Charter School Audit Reveals the Fatal Flaws in Jeb Bush’s Education Prescription
Originally Posted on June 23, 2012

Miami Herald reporters Kathleen McGrory, Scott Hiassen and Shiaa Sen continue to reveal for Floridians that state charter schools are far from the institutions of virtue their advocates want them to believe. The audit by the Miami-Dade school district of one charter school will sound familiar to Florida’s charter school watchers:

Auditors examining the cash-strapped Academy of Arts & Minds criticized the charter school for a series of no-bid contracts with companies tied to the school’s founder, attorney Manuel Alonso-Poch, according to a draft report obtained by The Miami Herald. Alonso-Poch is the “controlling force” at the school, auditors found, acting as the school’s landlord, financial manager, food provider, spokesman and occasional legal advisor.
Alonso-Poch’s real-estate company, which owns the school property and leases the building to the school, also wrongly received a school-related tax exemption on a portion of a parking lot that was not used by the school, the audit found. The Miami-Dade Property Appraiser is now demanding more than $182,000 in back taxes on the parking lot, records show.
Auditors also chided the school’s volunteer governing board as “subservient,” and said the board failed to adequately oversee the contracts between the school and Alonso-Poch’s companies. The board’s chairwoman, Ruth “Chuny” Montaner, is Alonso-Poch’s cousin, and board member Cecilia Holloman has worked with Alonso-Poch in the past.
Alonso-Poch, Montaner and Holloman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
One person long listed as a member of the school’s board is Jorge Guerra-Castro, who lives in Peru. When contacted by The Herald last year, Guerra-Castro said he had no formal relationship with the school and didn’t know why he was listed on the board.
Also on the school’s board are Percy Aguila and Ignacio Ortiz-Petit, both of Miami.
While the audit recommends a series of reforms for the charter school — including rewriting the no-bid contracts — the school district cannot force Arts & Minds to take any action to fix the problems, said Helen Blanch, the school district’s assistant superintendent for school choice. Though Arts & Minds receives more than $3 million a year in public funds, the charter school is independently managed with little oversight from the school district.
“At the end of the day, they haven’t done anything illegal,” Blanch said. “School districts should have the authority to oversee things like business practices and governance structure.”
However, auditors warned that the school’s relationship with Alonso-Poch could run afoul of Internal Revenue Service rules prohibiting nonprofits from operating “for the benefit of private interests.” A charter-school operator must be a recognized nonprofit under Florida law.
This probably isn’t what Floridians have in mind in a charter “school choice” option. But there’s more worrisome details in the Arts and Minds saga. Amid the Miami Herald story is evidence that Jeb Bush’s school grade formula is tragically flawed.

Though Arts & Minds has achieved academic success — the school received an A-rating from the state last year — it has also been mired in financial problems. Auditors said the school would have faced potential closure in each of the four past years were it not for $1.9 million the school received from Alonso-Poch in donations or forgiven rent.
The school district also temporarily withheld funds from Arts & Minds last year after finding that the school was not providing required services for special-needs students. And district officials also accused the school of charging illegal fees to students to attend many classes.
The audit was sparked by complaints from a group of parents who feared the school’s board was ignoring financial problems and surrendering too much control to Alonso-Poch, who is not a member of the school’s board. The parents also complained that the school did not have enough textbooks for the students, and the school did not have enough teachers for several weeks last year.
Though some of the complaining parents were pleased that the audit confirmed their worries, some said they were frustrated that the school district can’t take stronger action to change the climate at the school.
“So long as the board is allowed to stay, it will be business as usual at that school,” said Carlos Hernandez, whose daughter attended Arts & Minds before transferring last year. “The ones who will end up paying the price are the children and parents.”
How can a school be an “A” school without having enough teachers and textbooks? And parents be upset? But to Jeb Bush, the only policy-maker who matters, that school grade is the only thing that matters.

There hasn’t been any good news of late for Bush and his acolytes. The coalition of parent groups and local school boards who’ve joined recently is one which won’t be suppressed by spin. Floridians are beginning to see that Bush’s school grade formula is superficial and one in which is driven by a high-stakes test regime that’s narrow in scope but disturbingly broad in consequence.
disgruntled conspiracy theorist
8:07AM MAR 1ST 2014
Parents, teachers and the American public at large has been so deceived by the Bush push for the NWO they now tend to believe anything. The MSM has blocked all honest media outlets from publishing the facts that the Sandy Hook massacre in New Town CT was a total hoax! They have also blocked all credible attempts of persons with evidence that the Columbine shooters were victims of a perverted Sheriff Pat Sullivan and a Deputy Wyatt and the massacre was an attempt by these victims to lure these sheriff's who had raped them into an ambush. Anyone who can spell and type can get the facts, but the elite-cabal-NWO Bush machine always have the shills attack the truth and put fake responses to the facts provided so as to confuse those to lazy to dig deeper!

This time even the lazy people can see what Bush and Obama are doing with the Common Core Nazi like programming schemes. Obama RACE TO THE TOP is candy for those to promote their schemes. in 2012 Jeb Bush had his former Ed Dir Jim Horne out twisting the arms of Jimmy Jett to make him back out of the Cliff Sterns race. This was all about a Muslim Charter School Jeb Bush and Jim Horne was putting in Jacksonville with federal grant dollars! (Google Jimmy Jett Ocala Star Banner to get the stories) Jett just sued the FBI for hiding the case files! Gray Grappo - Guelen (Muslim) Charter Schools takeovers tied straight to Jeb Bush's front door!

And Lord let us not forget this co-governorship of Jeb Bush and Rick Scott. Scott and the Bush family have been partners for decades back in Texas (oil, hospitals and the Texas Rangers) Check out the tax dollars spent @ Enterprise Florida (Texas Rangers games and all) Bush push to put all of Cuban Dictator Bastista's offspring in public offices. Raoul Cantero III (Jeb Supreme Ct appointee) now representing the Repubs in Tallahassee on their schemes to re-districting process! Cantero represented terrorist, Orlando Bosch, who conspired in the bombing of a Cubana airliner in 1976, ... Presdient Bush later pardoned the terrorist and he lives in Miami today! Carlos Lopez-Cantera Scott-Bush, Inc's choice for Lt. Governor.

Crooked politics is one thing but the Bushes goals have always been The New World Order! Bush (41) could not open his mouth without using those FOUR WORDS!

And a CharLIE Crist back in the governor's office will be no better. You have the common denominator of MEL SEMBLER who is very close to the Bush family Bush (43) appointed him ambassador to Italy and he can't speak a word of Italian! Sember founded Straight, Inc. which integrated with the Franklin Scandal pedophile organizations from coast to coast and internationally. Sembler was a major fund raiser for Mitt Romney. The NWO people try to control who holds as many public offices as possible; But in the end they don't really care because they own and control them all, and just in case that don't work, they have an early retirement plan for those non-conformists.

As long as you have like Sembler feeding the coffers of both parties so he and his pedophile organizations can get the hands on the kids of America it's like Hillary said "what difference does it make?"
10:49AM FEB 28TH 2014
The issue for me is not about "extremists" as Michael says or about a "conspiracy" as Senator Gaetz mentions. It is about a wholesale change in Education that is once again being pushed on our children, my children.

I have three children who attend public school in Volusia County. Some of the CC curriculum is nonsense and a waste. It is not even realistic. Why the heck should my fourth grade son explain the difference between standard and traditional algorithms as part of a math assignment? Can the proponents of CC please explain why a fourth grader should care let alone write a paragraph in math about the difference? Are you freaking kidding me!

What the senator seems to forget is that he does not have kids in school. If he did they would be in private school. So it becomes a do as a I and not as I do. What is even more gauling is that the Florida Legistature went along with this revamping of our educational system without asking the right questions and without doing this in a trial basis. Thy allowed Jeb Bush to tinker with this and Charlie Crist push it.

These are my kids we are talking about. Not some numbers on a memo. Oh, what we parents are seeing is that teachers and administrators are going around CC because they see it as a looming disaster.
10:21AM FEB 28TH 2014
The clarifications and minor changes that were made to the Common Core standards by the Florida Board of Education are a smoke screen designed to silence the uninformed opposition to Common Core. The problem is that the opposition is very well informed.
We know that the .8% changes will never show up on any Common Core allied test and therefore teachers will have no incentive to teach them.
We know that the changes do nothing to give educational control back to parents and local school boards.
We know that some of the standards and the methodology by which teachers are required to teach remain developmentally inappropriate.
We know that private schools that take any government funding will be forced to comply with Common Core allied testing.
We also know that those of us who oppose Common Core make up a lager portion of Governor Scott's voter block.
If we continue to be ignored, our children continue to be used as guinea pigs and their teachers continue to be forced to use teaching methods they know don't work; there will be consequences. At the ballot box or in the classroom. I The clarifications and minor changes that were made to the Common Core standards by the Florida Board of Education are a smoke screen designed to silence the uninformed opposition to Common Core. The problem is that the opposition is very well informed.
We know that the .8% changes will never show up on any Common Core allied test and therefore teachers will have no incentive to teach them.

We know that the changes do nothing to give educational control back to parents and local school boards.

We know that some of the standards and the methodology by which teachers are required to teach remain developmentally inappropriate.

We know that private schools that take any government funding will be forced to comply with Common Core allied testing.

We also know that those of us who oppose Common Core make up a lager portion of Governor Scott's voter block.
If we continue to be ignored, our children continue to be used as guinea pigs and their teachers continue to be forced to use teaching methods they know don't work; there will be consequences. At the ballot box or in the classroom. If our legislators don't do something to stop Common Core this spring the consequences may appear in both.
9:39AM FEB 28TH 2014
Michael my heart and soul bleeds for you. I pray you will open your eyes and see the evil in centralized education and government. Review Hitler's goals and results. Common Core is nothing more than a power grap from liberals and centralized government. Local schools controlled by local citizens and local government is key to a strong nation
OB Blue
12:10PM MAR 2ND 2014
Bronson - the great thing about CC is that it teaches kids to think critically and require facts to support a statement. None of what you say can be supported and once CC is taught for a few years, people like you will be exposed for the closed-minded, fear mongers that you are. (Hitler's goals - really?!) That's probably why the extreme Right is fighting what was started by the Republican Governor's Association (and businesses).
Mark Matis
9:27AM FEB 28TH 2014
Thank God there are at least SOME honorable representatives in the Florida legislature who are willing to stand against the swill that indoctrinates our children through the public school system! If only there were more like them. But then that is clearly too much to expect from a legislature full of Democrats and Rove Republicans.
disgruntled conspiracy theorist
9:26AM FEB 28TH 2014
Senate President Don Gaetz said "You can't dip them in milk and hold them over a candle and see the United Nations flag or Barack Obama's face,” he said last year. “They're not some federal conspiracy." Man oh man these Nazi’s are trained to look you right in the face and lie, lie and lie!
If they dared to read the US constitution the federal government is prohibited from overtaking education. Jeb Bush used the National Governor’s Assn to concoct this COMMON CORE and in fact it is so like their OBAMACARE the National Governor’s Assn voted to approve it before anyone read it. Why did they have to COPYWRITE It? Why is the Bush connected Pearson Publishing’s Prentice Hall WORLD HISTORY book required reading? (Primarily pushes Islam) Why is “The Bluest Eye” (homosexual content) required reading by junior year?
Bush (43) No Child Left Behind immediately spurned IGNITE LEARNING! Founder Neil Bush (the infamous destructor of the nations savings & loans) His start up investors; his mother and father Bush (41) and the Saudi Prince friend!

Gary Grappo direct strong ties to the Bush dynasty appointed Ambassador to Omen by Bush (43) founding charter schools leaning to the Gulen Muslim movement – Billions in grants – loans in default. [Founding Director - Astec Int. Human Resources Techmoligies with Carol Richer St College, Pa] Penn State directly connected to coast to coast pedophile ring Franklin Scandal!

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

Co-Governor’s Jeb Bush and Rick Scott brought Tony Bennett to Florida after his election loss to promote Common Core and charter schools conversions If he hadn’t been caught fixing grades for Christel DeHaan he would be leading the New World Order Common Core and charter school musliminazition of Florida’s school along with Bush man Jim Horne.
New Florida schools chief and staff 'raised grades from 'C' to 'A' at charter school run by prominent Republican donor' 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 Grades determine how much state funding schools receive Low grade also detract from a neighborhood and drive home buyers elsewhere. Former Indiana and current 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 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.

Now as bad as Jeb Bush and Rick Scott hates they fact that he got caught – he’s gone from Florida – they will have to find him another low profile spot.

This should have been a “faux pass” for Bush and Rick Scott – but they have that Hillary attitude “what difference does it make?”

The Bush family and the Bush machine took has taken advantage of every possible event to manipulate the education of America’s youth for decades! All on the pretense of “it’s for the children.” Obama and his Race to The Top grants were designed to fund those states who were willing to turn a blind eye to their nazi-communist style programming for America’s youth for their NWO. If anyone dares tell the truth about America’s only surviving monarchy they have an immediate label attached. They and their NWO goons have thousands of shills (like Michael who has already started on this story!) ready to assault any truthful stories or blogs that hit the internet. They control 99% of the MSM and a lot of Florida so called public officials. Hopefully these brave lawmakers will STAND THEIR GROUND and defy Jeb Bush and his Bush machine at least here in Florida.
Don Gaetz, you can’t be that ignorant when you say “They're not some federal conspiracy!”

You are just another Bush machine trained (what ever you care to call them) person who stands and does exactly 180 degree’s from what comes off your lips!

If any of you in Tallahassee was just 1% honest you would not sit still while Senator Charlie Dean and his son with there landfill schemes called ACMS, Inc. went about Central Florida strong arming counties to use his Sumter County landfill or else! Check the contracts owned by Senator Dean Sumter, Citrus, Lake and Marion Counties and who knows how many others!
9:11AM FEB 28TH 2014
So two extreme religious and political zealots file identical bills to protect Floridians from the chance to be successful in life. Common Core has its issues but the issues are not the standards per se but the testing regimen. Tweak the standards and greatly reduce the testing regimen. Plus vote extreme zealots such as Mayfield, Evers, Weatherford, and others out of office.
George Blumel
11:26AM FEB 28TH 2014
Only an "extreme zealot" would call such serious public servants as Mayfield, Evers and Weatherford extreme zealots instead of addressing their concerns which are the concerns of their constituents.
btw, One size does not fit all in education or anything else. Can't expect an extreme zealot to understand that, tho.
Mark Matis
5:28PM FEB 28TH 2014
Well said!

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