Why New York’s Common Core Collapse Continues to Haunt Florida


Florida is a year or two behind New York implementing Common Core and its rigid high-stakes tests regime and New York’s rapidly unfolding collapse has gone beyond cautionary tale status. State superintendent John King was told by a legislator last week that the only supporters of Core left are “yourself (King) and the members of the Board of Regents” only two days before the state teacher’s union pulled its support and called for his resignation.

Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart reads the newspapers and understands the New York template can easily be placed over her state. She’ll understand the reasons for the collapse, too. New York principal Carol Burris explains in Answer Sheet:

Why is support for the Common Core in New York so quickly sinking into the deep? Some contend that it is because teachers do not have enough materials to teach the Common Core. They argue that if teachers had more preparation and resources, all would be fine.  I disagree. Support is disappearing, not because schools don’t have the Common Core curriculum, but because for the first time they do.  After last year’s testing debacle, teachers are frantically attempting to implement the standards using the modules provided by the state. Kids and parents are reeling from the effects of teaching the Common Core standards, at the fast pace needed to get through them in time for the tests.

Burris dispatches many of the talking points coming from Florida Core-ists. Those New York’s modules represent control of curriculum – something Core’s Florida cheerleaders say isn’t happening. And, yes, there’s Core’s PARCC tests which Burris characterized as a “debacle.”  Oh, sure, Florida threw PARCC over-the-side and Stewart “tweaked” Core and pronounced them “Florida Standards. But you can’t put lip stick on a pig.

Stewart’s political problems are different from King’s, as current opposition is largely from conservatives and is based on issues of federal control. Many feel that Stewart really isn’t calling the shots here. A long time educator, Stewart knows that the 15 percent changes (she’s limited to that by Race to the Top and Core’s copyrights) really aren’t changes. Her bosses don’t care about classroom chaos and testing debacles. Rick Scott, Jeb Bush and the Florida Chamber of Commerce will go to the mat for Core as they understand that full implementation assures permanent corporate control of public education.

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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