Florida’s unelected Board of Education, long serving as reliable cronies to rubber stamp Jeb Bush’s education agenda, finally had to face critics in yesterday’s public hearing on Common Core. Not that there ever any doubt that they would ever act differently, yesterday’s passage revealed the Board’s complete void of independent thought. Consider this from Matt Dixon in the Florida Times-Union:
There were tense moments during the more than two-hour hearing, as board chairman Gary Chartrand, a Jacksonville businessman, threatened to shut down public comment after several outbursts. It’s not uncommon during public meetings for a board or commission to request no clapping. Still, several speakers blasted the request, and there were shouts of “God Bless America” from the crowd.
Board members and Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said they were also concerned about federal overreach, but were happy with the standard’s name change and the tweaks to the curriculum.
They are “Florida standards that were developed by Floridians,” said Andy Tuck, the board’s newest member.
If Tuck had any credibility as a serious guy before, he’s now lost it. Pam Stewart’s “tweaks” amounted to a predetermined 15 percent change in standards. The other 85 percent weren’t written by Floridians – and not anywhere near Florida. Tuck might as well have said night is day.
This is pure political spin coming out of Tuck’s mouth and a signal that Florida’s education power brokers will be ramming Core home. With apologies to Nancy Pelosi, it’s clear we will have to implement Core to find out what’s in it.
Florida’s education reform cabal has never really faced the music like they did yesterday in Orlando. Those folks won’t be just taking their ball and going home. Their energy will be shifted to Vero Beach Rep. Debbie Mayfield’s HB25. The bill has four co-sponsors in the House, but none yet in the senate. Will senate president Don Gaetz keep it from happening?