Tony Bennett’s “Assessment Regimen for Common Core” Evasion

Both Rick Scott and Tony Bennett have learned not to take on a room full of teachers by themselves. So when time came for yesterday’s roundtable discussion both were there to respond to 40 state teachers of the year. James Call of the Florida Current provides this comment from Bennett:

“The implication of Common Core will be one of the largest policy implications lifts the states have engaged in the history of education,” Bennett said during the talk with about 40 teachers. “In the very near short-term we’re going to have to make some decisions  about what will be the assessment regimen for Common Core — if you were going to ask me what is item No. 1 for the next 30 to 60 days, that’s item No. 1.”

Bennett can’t bring himself to say “tests” and weaseled out with a wonkish “assessment regimen.” You can be sure every teacher in the room knew Bennett meant “high-stakes tests.”

At least Bennett was honest enough to indicate that tests have to be created to match Common Core. Current talking points are focused on  mischaracterizing opposition while defending Common Core by not telling the whole story. Take Ed H. Moore’s opinion piece as an example. Moore  is president and CEO of the Independent Colleges and Universities. of Florida and writes:

It is time to “Raise the bar!” I keep frequently seeing commentary from pundits that questions the need for Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and from some, the specter of federal government intrusion into educational matters.

I am not really clear on their thought processes since the arguments they put forth tend to be more anti-government in nature rather than based in the realities of educational standards. Frankly, the U.S. is losing the educational race and the new standards are designed to get us back on track — by setting base levels of knowledge that every student should learn, know and retain.

Common assessments and curriculum afford educators and policymakers the opportunity to compare. The curriculum is not being prescribed — the bar for knowledge is just being set. On a national level, tests such as the SAT and ACT are very useful in comparing high school juniors and seniors, but what about our nation’s younger students? While many states have tests and curriculum specifically designed for their students, the educators, parents and lawmakers of our nation have yet to collaborate in the creation of a national standard, until now. CCSS has allowed the states to come together to set a new bar of achievement for all students.

Both Moore and Bennett completely leave out any mention of Florida’s multiple accountability systems which will rely on Bennett’s “assessment regimen”  or  Moore’s “common assessments.” This is the equivalent to ignoring the 800 pound bear in the room.

There are troubling mechanisms within Florida’s school grade formula and its teacher evaluation system.  The policymakers who crafted the legislation intended for them to be there. Schools can be closed or converted to charter schools and teachers can be fired for low test scores. Guys like Bennett and Moore don’t want Floridians to consider this along with their Common Core agenda.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to Tony Bennett’s “Assessment Regimen for Common Core” Evasion

  1. Parent says:

    Lower test scores will impact real estate values even more than now. We need new leadership in this state ASAP.

  2. Whistleblower says:

    I retired from a position as a math and science teacher in Florida after 41 years. When I retired to Maine, I took a teaching job at a Maine high school. The Common Core was being introduced statewide in Maine. When I began to look over it and study it in detail, I found that it was just re-inventing the wheel. Florida had common core standards in place 30 years ago. We did not call them that as the name for Florida’s curriculum has changed many times as the legislature, and various governors tinkered with curriculum. We had the Sunshine Standards, which is in reality the common core. Our dictates were called benchmarks, and they were divided into cognitive skills. The common core is just the same thing with a new coat of paint.

    The common core is being promoted by publishers of textbooks and software. They stand to make much more profit when they design textbooks and computer software for the common core, rather than 50 individual states. Educators have always been at the mercy of state legislators, and governors, now the CORPORATE greed machine has its sights set on teachers. I do think everyone is genuinely interested in giving our students a great education, but most of the current legislation being written does not put education first, they put corporate profits first.

    The grading scale in Florida was a noble experiment in comparing the schools of Florida to each other. It was not meant as a punitive measure, but rather an indicator. It has evolved into one of the most punitive models of management ever devised. Good schools get more money. Bad schools get less money, and are subject to being closed if they don’t “produce.” That in itself, is not a bad idea, but the convoluted laws presented to legislators by groups like ALEC and FEE, have deemed that these public schools can be replaced by charter schools, and other schools being run by corporate entities. In other words, the very corporations and their partners gain when students do poorly, and lose when students do well.

    The Common Core is just another spoke in the wheel of corporations to take over public education.These “unelected government entities” have bought and paid for many of our politicians. Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE), has pushed these changes with the backing of politicians who are supporters of ALEC. This middle man approach allows for many campaign contributions to politicians to be “laundered.” If you don’t believe me, google, FEE, and ALEC and see how many legislators support both of these entities. FEE goes to ALEC, ALEX helps write the laws, and then they are passed to legislators to rubber stamp. It’s a very efficient operation. This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s simply another instance of the greed of “unelected government” entities.

    Our students are being held hostage to a group of people who stand to profit financially if they fail. That is an intolerable situation.

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