TALLAHASSEE — Florida shouldn’t delay new academic standards it’s sharing with 44 other states or a related test despite looming obstacles, the state’s schools chief said today at an education summit sponsored by business interests.
Other participants at the meeting in Orlando, though, said they were worried Florida was moving too fast by attempting to fully implement the standards in the 2014-15 school year.
Education Commissioner Tony Bennett last week told the State Board of Education he was developing a “Plan B” in case the test designed to assess the new standards isn’t ready in time. The test being developed by a 23-state consortium will replace the existing Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT.
Bennett keynoted today’s summit, titled “Breaking Through Mediocrity — Implementing the Common Core State Standards,” by saying there’s no need to delay either the standards or the test although he acknowledged potential problems.
“We’re all best served by doing what many people in business do every day and that is set a timeline, set a deadline and bust our tails to meet it,” Bennett said. “That’s the option we’re going to work for.”
The Bush foundation’s top legislative advisor, Mary Laura Bragg, was there to parrot Bennett’s position. Is Bennett’s vanity at work here? He said at the last state board meeting that “nobody wants this anymore than me.” And why wouldn’t he? Bennett was among leaders in advancing national common core standards and PARCC tests while Indiana’s ed boss.
With the Bush foundation and, obviously Bennett, now clutching to Kathy Hebda’s FLDOE report which celebrated SB 736 as gospel, they have their justification to dismiss and brush aside the clear flaws that exists in Florida’s accountability system. They know that once something is implemented, it’s next to impossible to undo. Florida’ children must stand in the corner while some adults get their way first.