The New York Common Core Story That Frightens Florida GOP Lawmakers


It’s come to this in New York:

To say John King Jr. is New York’s embattled education commissioner is an understatement.

A statewide teachers’ union is making plans to take an unprecedented no-confidence vote against him.

New York State United Teachers represents more than 600,000 teachers.

Union president Richard Iannuzzi said King’s failure to address the problems with the Common Core curriculum has “corrupted the framework” for the teachers evaluations.

Iannuzzi has called upon the union’s Board of Directors to vote on the issue.

NYSUT’s delegates also are expected meet in April for a similar vote on behalf of the rank and file.

The call for the no-confidence vote comes about two months after the statewide parents’ group, New York State Allies for Public Education, began its call for King’s resignation.

According to NYSUT insiders, their no-confidence vote falls just short of asking King to do the same.

The union is pushing the State Education Department for a three-year moratorium on using the Common Core aligned standardized tests for teacher and student evaluations.

The union said the education department “bungled the Common Core implementation,” and according to Iannuzzi, the moratorium would allow the state enough time to “get it right.”

New York administered PARCC before Common Core had been fully implemented and the predicted results became a reality. When New York parents became outraged, an arrogant secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, scoffed that he found it fascinating that “white suburban moms all of a sudden discovered their child isn’t as bright as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

Real educators – which Duncan is not (nor are two-year TFAers who become Broad Foundation grads) know that you cannot test kids on something they have not been taught. It’s called test validity – a long accepted philosophy that’s been dismissed and ignored by test-based education reformers like Duncan.

Simultaneous to the New York meltdown, Florida’s republican legislative leaders –  Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford became aware of PARCC’s fatal flaws and wrote a letter to then Education Commissioner Tony Bennett urging him to withdraw from PARCC. Among a list of concerns, Gaetz and Waetherford wrote “it would be unacceptable to participate in national efforts that may take us backward and erode confidence in our accountability system and our trajectory of continued success.”

Bennett had been fully committed to PARCC since his Indiana days and kept his position as its “fiscal agent” for the 26 state consortium, an was personally invested in PARCC and its success.   Bennett thanked Gaetz and Weatherford, but maintained that the final decision was still his. Two weeks later, Bennett was out after revelations he changed the grade of a charter school belonging to a contributor.

Would Bennett have gone to the mat for PARCC even after the New York disaster? Or the one in Kentucky, where republican legislators are now looking to repeal Core? Florida’s Hillsborough county school district – flush with Gates money – is going through with PARCC. So significant cover and  political clout was available to Bennett if he chose to take on Gaetz and Weatherford.

At any rate, Bennett and PARCC – save one rogue – via Bill Gates’ money – school district are gone. But Core with it’s “largely cosmetic changes” are still around – and like in New York – are not yet fully implemented. And Florida’s new education commissioner, Pam Stewart, is scrambling around for a new set of tests for kids to take next year. And one of the companies trying to get the contract, ACT, has hired Bennett as a, well, consultant.

The incestuous, corrupt universe of today’s education reform cabal is a never ending revolving door of people going back-and-forth between the public and private sector. Full acceptance and implementation of Common Core is their goal. Writes Diane Ravitch:

Integral to the Common Core was the expectation that they would be tested on computers using online standardized exams. As Secretary Duncan’s chief of staff wrote at the time, the Common Core was intended to create a national market for book publishers, technology companies, testing corporations, and other vendors.

Don Gaetz, a former school board member and school superintendent, is reported to be against any sort of pause in Core and Florida’s accountability system. But he is certain to be fully aware of what’s happening  in New York and Kentucky. Hillsborough’s decision notwithstanding, PARCC won’t be back. Nor will anything like it. But even Gaetz would have to admit that Florida’s rewrite of Core doesn’t really change things much.

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 The New York Common Core Story That Frightens Florida GOP Lawmakers

  1. Florida Teacher says:

    Hmmm…I’m a teacher with the Hills. Co. School District. I’m not aware we are still going through with PARCC. However, nobody seems to know what we’re doing around here these days.

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