The readers’ forum

Common Core will not adequately prepare Florida’s students


In response to Marshall Criser’s Nov. 14 Other Views column, Florida’s education standards fill vital need, on the Common Core standards, the 38 state and national groups representing hundreds of thousands of Florida and American parents that comprise the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition (FSCCC) offer the following questions:

On academic rigor: How can Criser say that Common Core standards are rigorous when the chief architect of the math standards, Jason Zimba, has publicly admitted, “[Common Core is] not only not for STEM, it’s also not for selective colleges.” As the chosen chancellor of Florida’s university system, isn’t Criser concerned that Common Core will not adequately prepare Florida’s students for engineering at the University of Florida, which is in the top 30 engineering schools in the nation? Is he not concerned when even the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, one of the major proponent groups in the nation, ranked Florida’s previous math standards higher in rigor than the Common Core?

And with regard to the English standards, don’t the grave concerns and warnings about these from Prof. Sandra Stotsky, one of the nation’s leading standards experts and member of the validation committee; Dr. Terence Moore of Hillsdale College, author of The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core; curriculum expert Dr. Duke Pesta of the University of Wisconsin; and 132 Catholic scholars and administrators give Criser just the slightest pause?

On comparability: Why is Criser so concerned about using these poor quality national standards for comparability between states via federally funded and supervised national tests when we already have state comparability with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), and the Trends in International Math and Science Study? Why would Criser uproot the great progress that Florida has made without the untried Common Core when, as Gov. Scott justifiably likes to brag, Florida’s fourth-grade students scored second in the world on the 2011 PIRLS?

On student mobility: How in the world can Criser use student mobility as justification for imposing these untested, low-level psycho-social and workforce training skills on the entire state of Florida and the nation, when according to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 1.6 percent of the student population moves across state lines in any given year?

Finally, the Board of Governors should be asked why they are choosing a businessman like Criser with no academic experience, who is pushing admittedly inferior standards, and, as stated by the Catholic scholars, “standardized workforce preparation” to prevent a “waste of resources to over-educate people.” FSCCC believes that Florida deserves better.

Karen Effrem, co-founder, Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, Port Charlotte

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