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Rick Scott creating a Common Core mess

Roger Caldwell | 10/24/2013, 9 a.m.

It’s election time for Governor Rick Scott, and he is promoting himself as Florida’s education governor. Scott spokesman Lane Wright said, “From day one, Scott’s priority has been to deliver a world-class education system to the students of Florida. He accomplished this through the Student Success Act, and has always supported the expansion of charter schools and giving Florida’s families more choice.” In the last two budgets, our governor has increased the state education budget by $2 billion, and this year some teachers will receive a $2,500 raise, once the counties figure out the requirements.

But since Scott has taken office, there have been numerous problems. He is working on his fourth education commissioner in three years, and his first year he cut $1.3 billion from the educational budget. He is now gutting the new Common Core standard, and abandoning the standardized testing associated with the program. In 2011, Florida was rated 41 out of 50 states, when it came to per-pupil spending. In 2013, per-pupil spending increased by 6.5 percent from $6,386 to $6,800, and it is close to the spending levels in 2007. There is no way that our educational governor can be proud of these numbers when in 2007 there were fewer students in the system.

Initially, Scott was also a supporter of Common Core standards until some members from the conservative caucus in the Florida Republican Party begin to call the new system a conspiracy from the federal government. Once our governor started to listen to the chatter from these conservative groups, he tried to appease their position. In Sept. 2013, Scott issued an executive order ending Florida’s role as fiscal agent with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. As the argument begins to heat up with conservative groups against Common Core standards, Governor Scott is caught in the middle. He wants to promote himself as an educational governor, who is championing world class education for students, but he refuses to alienate his base. Our governor must make a definitive decision and encourage the implementation of Common Core standards throughout the state. In 2012, Governor Scott proved that he can create a mess with voting and counting the ballots. It is my hope that our governor does not create another mess with the implementation of Common Core standards, and in 2014 with testing for the new educational system.   

Roger Caldwell is the CEO of On Point Media Group in Orlando.