My impression of Altamonte Springs GOP Senator David Simmons is that he will talk a good game, but in the end will never go against what leadership wants. Maybe he’s moved up in the world and become a pro-testing mouthpiece. Consider this from a James Call article in the Florida Current:
“They have had some, what I would call problems with the implementation of higher test scores relating to the FCAT. I see this as an opportunity to get past those problems and move on and rededicate ourselves to the proper implementation of the FCAT and the Common Core standards,” said Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs. Simmons chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education.
“I wish Commissioner Robinson the best. We should take the things that he did for us here in Florida and be appreciative but at the same time we need to further improve Florida’s education ‘system,” Simmons said.
This Simmons’ trial balloon obviously seeks to downplay “problems with the implementation of higher test scores relating to the FCAT, ” doesn’t it? So lets just let bygones be bygones and move just move on to more testing with that common core standards thing. And we’ll get rid of FCAT and have PARC tests instead. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Such perfectly timed talking points gives ammunition to folks who believe Robinson’s convenient departure was a calculated ouster. Parents Across America’s Rita Solnet might be onto something when she said she “didn’t view Robinson as a long-term leader but rather he was the guy who was going to come in, execute the most egregious changes possible, be the fall guy and leave.”
Robinson’s temporary replacement, Pam Stewart, has roots within Florida’s public school system and won’t draw fire that an education reform hired gun like Robinson did. There won’t be another one for some time. But as Jeb Bush allowed himself to be drawn into the story on Robinson’s departure by responding to Solnet’s observation as “complete bull,” he’s established himself as the new poster child of his own system he’s had others defend for him.