“Taking control over creation of Florida’s assessment tests ensures that Floridians, who know what is best for Florida’s kids, will guide the curriculum taught in our schools,” Americans for Prosperity’s Florida director Slade O’Brien wrote in a statement Wednesday.
Laura Zorc, of Florida Parents Against Common Core, added that the next step would be for Florida leaders to recognize “the poor standards themselves.”
Any mention of the national standards was conspicuously missing from the Gaetz-Weatherford letter. Neither has spoken out against the Common Core, and the education department has said it is holding firm on that point.
Florida could still make the move to the national standards without the PARCC exams. State education officials were already planning to use the existing FCAT 2.0 exams during the transition.
In a statement, Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said: "The governor appreciates the Legislature's concerns and Commissioner Bennett will continue to make sure we implement standards that best prepare our students for college and careers."The praised lavished on the letter from Gaetz and Weatherford wasn’t limited to Republicans. Democrats were also supportive of the idea, albeit for different reasons.
“This gives us a good opportunity to look at all of the testing that’s going and really determine if it makes sense, or if it is too much,” said Sen. Dwight Bullard, a Miami Democrat.
Mark Pudlow, a spokesman for the state teachers union, the Florida Education Association, said he would reserve judgment until he saw more details. “But this provides leaders an opportunity to do what they haven’t done before, and that is to have teachers involved in figuring out what this new Florida Plan will look like,” he said.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said hitting “the pause button” was a step in the right direction.
“There’s so much that’s not ready that folks are really coalescing around this idea that … maybe the state is not ready to bring in a new assessment for Common Core,” he said.
Miami Herald staff writer David Smiley contributed to this report. Kathleen McGrory can be reached at kmcgrory@MiamiHerald.com.