Tampa Bay Times reporter Jeff Solochek was unable to hide his skepticism in this Gradebook post on today’s release addressing Common Core from the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations:
The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (CFEF) has issued a white paper aimed at reminding Floridians why the state adopted the Common Core State Standards and debunking some of the “myths” associated with the strongest opposition.
The document has emerged just as Florida Gov. Rick Scott attempts to distance the state, and himself, from the Common Core.
In the white paper, the consortium picks up much of the language used by standards supporters, noting that they have been “voluntarily adopted,” and that “misconceptions” have led to continued debate and controversy.
Solochek’s skepticism is warranted if one takes a look at CFEF. Consider this mission statement from it’s website:
In 1984, the Florida Legislature passed a law allowing school districts to create local education foundations to raise private funds for programs to support students, teachers and public schools in their respective districts.
To create a professional alliance for the burgeoning county-wide education foundations throughout the state, the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations was organized in 1987. Since that time, the CFEF has grown from a handful of members to 59 foundations.
Local education foundations have evolved since the beginning and today they range widely in size and scope to reflect the unique challenges of their public schools and the focus of their board and school system leaders. More established foundations in urban areas now have large staffs and boards raising millions annually for a variety of initiatives. In rural areas, local education foundations may be volunteer-driven and focused on a few targeted programs.
CFEF links to its county member foundations, many whose contact person is an employee of a school district. But some aren’t. For example, Duval county’s is the Jacksonville Public Education Foundation (JPEF) which was founded by current chairman of the Florida Board of Education, Gary Chartrand, who still serves on JPEF’s board of directors.
The diversity of CFEF’s members makes this position paper indeed curious. It turns out that CFEF is actually two entities. At the bottom of the position paper, two websites are listed:
www.voiceineducation.org for The Voice of Florida Businesses in Education
And why are there two?
CFEF has a Facebook page. The page made no advocacy for Common Core until two days ago and until that time focused on local county philanthropy. It made a post on December 18, 2012 to the other website which provided this link.
So there are essentially two Consortiums of Florida Education Foundations: One, which exists to support philanthropy for local schools. And another, which solely exists to advocate for Common Core. Both are run by the same person.