BRADENTON – Florida Governor Rick Scott has directed the State Board of Education to withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the national consortium of states that won the bid to create new tests that would accompany the national Common Core standards. Florida had been the "fiscal agent" of the multi-state group.
On Monday, the governor sent a letter to state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand recommending a six-point action plan for pursuing higher standards in education, the first point of which was to pull out of PARCC and begin a bidding process to select a new assessment test for the state to replace the FCAT exam.
The governor also wrote a memo to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan informing him of Florida's intention to drop out of PARCC.
"In recent months, however, the debate over how to best accomplish this has devolved into whether Floridians and all Americans are simply 'for Common Core' or 'against Common Core,' with federal government involvement in PARCC a central part of the problem for states," Scott wrote.
The Common Core standards were developed by the National Governors Association and are already being taught in schools statewide as of the new school year. Florida will join several other states who have already dropped out of PARCC, which began with 26 states as members, but is now down to 17 without Florida.
The withdrawal is not related to Common Core, which Scott indicated he did not plan to oppose. Instead, it relates only to the assessment method for the new national standards adopted by 46 states, including Florida.
Common Core has created a divide in the Republican Party. Many right-wing conservatives and Tea Party groups oppose the standards as a form of federal control over local institutions. Proponents, like former Governor Jeb Bush and his Foundation for Florida's Future argue that it is a national, not federal program, as it has resulted from states coming together rather than Washington dictating policy.
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