Voices Against Common Core Growing Louder

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: September 5, 2013 3:55 AM

Common Core Protest

While the Florida Department of Education and Florida’s teachers gear up to implement Common Core State Standards by the 2014-2015 school year, another battle is raging on through the Legislature, schools, and the public: the battle against Common Core.

Several anti-Common Core groups across the state have been making their voices heard, calling either for a pause or a complete stop of the national education standards, which some say invade student privacy through extensive data mining.

Their voices have become louder over the last few months as opposition to Common Core has reached fever pitch. Even Florida legislators are pumping the brakes on the standards -- Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford have already made it clear they’re not on board with the assessment portion of Common Core.

Florida Stop Common Core Coalition is one group making its voice heard, and Dr. Karen Effrem is just one person leading the crusade against the national education standards in Florida. A former pediatrician, Effrem is a co-founder of FSCCC and is well-versed in education. She currently serves on the board for two national organizations: Education Liberty Watch and the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

Effrem says members of the public are angry about what’s going on with Common Core.

“When they see the type of things that are happening in their own schools, they’re appalled, and they are angry,” she told Sunshine State News. “This whole idea from the education summit that everything is going to be fixed by another slick marketing campaign and communications strategy from the state is just absurd.”

Just last week, a group of legislators, teachers, and education officials from around the state met in Clearwater to discuss accountability in Florida’s education system. Common Core was a hot topic at the summit, with Interim Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart discussing at length the best practices of segueing into the standards over the current academic year.

Those against Common Core don’t just have one gripe against the standards. They see multiple flaws, according to Effrem.

Data mining is a major one raised by those opposing Common Core.

“We are told that the Common Core standards have nothing to do with data collection and that the data that is used for educational purposes is protected by federal law and that it’s only given to the federal government in aggregate,” said Effrem.

The federal government claims that only “authorized representatives” can peek into student data, but opponents of Common Core point out that the definition of an “authorized representative" is so broad that virtually anyone -- a contractor, consultant, volunteer, or any other party to whom an agency or institution has outsourced institutional services or functions -- can be considered an “authorized representative” and can see student data.

Opponents also worry about the assessments coupled with Common Core, and they’re not alone. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) has also drawn fierce criticism from some members of the public and legislators alike. Don Gaetz and Will Weatherford have already voiced their opposition against the test, which they say will ultimately be costly in terms both of money and time, two things Florida can’t afford to lose.

They also raised questions about the security of student data.

“We remain concerned about ... the misuse of that data,” wrote Gaetz and Weatherford. “Even PARCC reports final test security policies will not be released for another calendar year.”

Instead, Gaetz and Weatherford are pushing for a unique assessment for the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.

When it comes to what should happen next for Common Core, those against the standards say Florida should raise the bar at the state level instead of opting for a national set of standards. What they’re saying is reaching the ears of legislators across the state who are beginning to show apprehension about CCSS. Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has already filed legislation to prevent the implementation of CCSS in any areas other than math and English.

But while Effrem thinks Mayfield’s legislation is a step in the right direction, she said there are still many other problems with CCSS that would remain -- too many to go forward with the standards at all.

“We think there are so many problems with the whole system of national standards, national tests that are federally funded and federally supervised,” said Effrem. “We think that the best way to go [forward] is a full withdrawal.”

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

Comments (21)

Lynne Sherrer
3:47PM SEP 11TH 2013
"Follow the Money" always, Jeb and Neal (brother) Bush stand to make millions and Gates with Microsoft will make BILLIONS. Politicians have a monetary stake in implementation.
Common Core is about progressive take over of education for control and power!
Lynne Sherrer
3:47PM SEP 11TH 2013
"Follow the Money" always, Jeb and Neal (brother) Bush stand to make millions and Gates with Microsoft will make BILLIONS. Politicians have a monetary stake in implementation.
Common Core is about progressive take over of education for control and power!
Lynne Sherrer
3:47PM SEP 11TH 2013
"Follow the Money" always, Jeb and Neal (brother) Bush stand to make millions and Gates with Microsoft will make BILLIONS. Politicians have a monetary stake in implementation.
Common Core is about progressive take over of education for control and power!
Lynne Sherrer
3:47PM SEP 11TH 2013
"Follow the Money" always, Jeb and Neal (brother) Bush stand to make millions and Gates with Microsoft will make BILLIONS. Politicians have a monetary stake in implementation.
Common Core is about progressive take over of education for control and power!
Lynne Sherrer
3:47PM SEP 11TH 2013
"Follow the Money" always, Jeb and Neal (brother) Bush stand to make millions and Gates with Microsoft will make BILLIONS. Politicians have a monetary stake in implementation.
Common Core is about progressive take over of education for control and power!
conservative spartan
1:10PM SEP 5TH 2013
Google "whitehouse education datapalooza october 2012". Then tell me the Feds aren't involved. The conference was on how they could share student data between agencies and other authorized stakeholders. Since they changed the FERPA law, parents have no say in the matter.
12:23PM SEP 5TH 2013
There should be high State standards reflecting the expectations of the constituents. A national standard becomes too diluted, does not reflect the variety of the populations throughout the country, and the various State standards. Education standards, on the whole, have been reduced to a terrible low acceptance. There should be NO remedial classes in college for reading or any other subject. It only shows that the K-12 standards are not in keeping to what is expected at a higher level of education. Life skills are no longer taught as they were in the 50s and 60s-home economics and industrial arts. Not all students need college, although all students need to know how to budget, cook, clean living area, do laundry, sew on a button, use a drill or hammer. These life skills help those who are unable to attend higher education. Not all of us can afford to have "staff" to do the work for us.
Common Core should be stopped completely. Let each State have their own high standards. The Federal government, which is really the taxpayers, should not be involved in education.
Yes! The Bigger Picture is
12:01PM SEP 5TH 2013
Those like Dean @ 8:34AM SEP 5TH 2013 are just more of the NWO BushWhacker organization. They band together to destroy the USA.

Check it out the entire Bush and Walker families are nothing but war mongers. Sam Bush, Prescott Bush (financed Adolph Hitler's rise to power) and should have been tried for treason. Do we need to mention George Herbert Walker and George W. Bush and their GULF OIL WARS that killed and maimed millions? New we have the Bushes and Obama wanting to start another OIL WAR for Saudi Arabia.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the ones fighting the Syeria government. Why do we want to fight on their side? OIL FIELDS!

This NWO movement is not REpub and Democrat as why want you to believe =it crosses all party lines. They only have the party lines so they can divide and conquer by blaming each other back and forth until they achieve their goals.
The Freedom Party
12:00PM SEP 5TH 2013
Education is a local issue and it should stay that way. We do not want a Soviet style system where are children are put on tracks to college, trade school or a profession by "educators". What happened to the American dream that you can be anything YOU want to be if you work hard enough? We should be promoting school choice with vouchers, Charter/Magnate Schools, teacher assessments and Merit pay. Only free market solutions can save education and our country!
patti henderson
11:47AM SEP 5TH 2013
In our County, it was three "Republicans" who signed off on Race To The Top, which contains CC. So-called Republicans fell for the carrot-dangling dollars, even though it meant selling out our kids. This is not a Republican/Democrat/whatever persuasion issue. I've talked to several out-of-state teachers (some are liberals) who are leaving the field because of this disastrous program inflicted on the students and teachers. These contracts were signed in the dark, and it's too bad that it took this long for parents and taxpayers to become aware of what's been done to us. We don't have proven results nor the cost of implementation yet. In fact, I challenge anyone who signed on the dotted line to tell us the cost of CC to FL taxpayers.
11:10AM SEP 5TH 2013
CC has not been tested for supporters to push it with credibility. Even if CC is pushed through in this state, not much will change for the better. When I had to speak with my son's 2nd grade teacher she told me that in the end how a child learns is by the parents support. Unfortunately, half the kids in his class could not read at the minimum level required. The reason is lack of parental involvement! Let's save us money and stop CC. Let us parents more choice on where to send our kids!!!!!!!!!!!
10:48AM SEP 5TH 2013
Teachers and parents beware, Common Core is FCAT on STEROIDS!
Lynne Sherrer
10:46AM SEP 5TH 2013
Dr. Efrem is correct, the whole thing is a train wreck and Fl. needs to withdraw. As far as English, look at the recommended reading list for 11th graders. I would never want my child or grandchild reading " The Bluest Eye" about incest and rape. The Common Core excludes the wonderful books we read and should still be recommended and suggests this porn.
That along with the invasive data mining on students, families and teachers should be enough for everyone to shout "STOP COMMON CORE".
10:25AM SEP 5TH 2013
We are new to this state and its already affecting us. our son, a should be kindergartner, has been labeled as learning disabled because we were not here to put him in the "government indoctrination" VPK. We are being told that kindergarten is the "new 1st grade" and that he should already know all these things that in other states he would have been taught in KINDERGARTEN. so now i have to find a private school for him to attend to get caught up to the "Florida school standards". His teacher told me that these things are part of the new common core standards and that he is way below standards and needs to go to special ed and be tested for disability. Load of crap!! I will not have my son labeled at this age because of some government trying to turn our kids into sheep. Homeschooling is looking very appealing.
9:11AM SEP 5TH 2013
The "Accountability Conference" last week, was a fully scripted Delphi technique screening designe by the Bush Foundation to bestow a patina of public acceptance to Common Core. The insulting manner in which the Governor's office and the bUsh foundation staked the meeting with proponents will come back and bite Republican's next November.

More than any other issue, this one crosses party lines. Voters will be coming to the polls in droves next year. Republicans, who normally wish for this, will probably end up regretting it instead.

It was Republicans who imposed Race To the Top on all the counties in Florida, even the two that refused to sign off on accpeting the mandates. It was Republicans who sold your childrens' future to Barack Obama for $700.0 million dollars in bribes (borrowed from your children). That amounts to about $350 per public school enrolled child. This is very quickly mounting intot the realm of child abuse and a gross violation of the right of privacy guaranteed Florida Citizens in the Florida Constitution.

I am a Republican, but if this is what Republicans are going to do to our children, might as well vote in the enemy, at least they are honest in wanting to destroy hope and economic propsperity and the right of equal OPPORTUNITY (if not outcomes).
8:34AM SEP 5TH 2013
Wow! So many wackados. It is about time every florida school, public and private, was forced to be as good as any other school.
The Bigger Picture
7:41AM SEP 5TH 2013
COMMON CORE is the JEB BUSH and family answer to their NEW WORLD ORDER training for our youth. Some call them Nazi like some call Obama communist-socialist-muslim. CHECK JEB CONNECTIONS TO GUELEN CHARTER SCHOOLS. CHECK NEIL BUSH, MOM AND POP AND SAUDI PRINCE OWNERSHIP IN "IGNITE."

Obama and Bush's are pushing invasion of Syria for the Saudi's. They paid #20 million for Obama Harvard Degree's.

Call them all anything you like but every last one of them are ANTI-AMERICAN.
KK in Tampa
6:36AM SEP 5TH 2013
Pam Stewart and the cronies on the board of Education for Florida have a trail of money to Jeb Bush and Rick Scott. They sit on a board for Florida yet none are from this state but from the Northeast and West. (We all know what that means...) This is a product of you give me and look what I can do for you in return. We need to stand firm on this and if it means getting rid of our Representation than we need to do so.
Chris Quackenbush
6:28AM SEP 5TH 2013
Dr Effrem is absolutely right. Our group, has been actively engaged in SWFL and will be attending an important meeting against Common Core at the University of Notre Dame where national experts will be strategizing Sept 9. Rep. Matt Caldwell is also writing a bill to stop Common Core in FL. This untested, unwise, unaffordable and unconstitutional national education system will ensnare all schools, private, religious and home schools as the College Board and GED tests will be aligned with Common Core. Once people understand the insidious tentacles reach us all and there is no escape, they will reject this intrusion brought to us by federal bribery and coercion with no votes by our parents, school boards, state and federal legislators.
6:07AM SEP 5TH 2013
The statist screws tighten every day. We are no longer a free people.

Only a state initiated Article V amendment convention to restore federalism can possibly stop the pending hard tyranny.
10:05AM SEP 5TH 2013
Levin for President!!

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