Parents plan to protest national educator's convention - FOX 35 News Orlando

Parents plan to protest national educator's Orlando convention

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

A group of Central Florida parents wants to give national lawmakers a lesson this weekend.

Florida Parents Against Common Core (FPACC) is planning a protest outside a national conference for educators. Stacie Clarke is one of the moms behind the mission.  She helped form FPACC in May.

FPACC is a diverse group of parents who came together to protest one common goal -- the Common Core. It's a national set of education standards adopted by dozens of states, including Florida.

"The standards, they say, are rigorous, but that's not the case," said Clarke. "At least not for Florida."

This Saturday, educators from all over will come to Orlando to attend the 2013 National Conference on College and Career Readiness & Common Core State Standards.

Kevin Baird, Chairman of the Center for College and Career Readiness, said they understand the parents' concerns, and they're open and willing to work with communities.

"The Center for College and Career Readiness supports the open, vigorous dialogue about the need for increased rigor in education," said Baird. "We do not support any one set of standards over another. Our mission is to ensure fidelity of implementation for the standards selected by a state or local school board."

Clarke said she and other parents feel there are a host of problems with the Common Core.

"The problem that we have with common core is the data tracking that's involved with our children -- 400 points of data are collected," said Clarke.

But Baird told FOX 35 that's not the case. Baird said the federal program Race to the Top collects data, but Common Core does not.

Baird also added that states, not the federal government, create the Common Core state standards, and Baird said it was developed by academics and funded in part under the Bush administration.

Still, that won't stop the protest planned outside of the conference this Saturday.

"We're expecting thousands of parents and grandparents that are opposed to Common Core to come and support us," said Clarke.

But Clarke said several local hotels haven't supported her group.

National nonprofit FreedomWorks was planning a training session at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando to educate parents before the protest outside of the nearby JW Marriott Orlando.

"Initially we had set up the grassroots training session that Freedom Works is hosting at the Ritz, which is next to the Marriott," said Clarke. "We thought that was the perfect place to hold it. And then the Ritz canceled on us."

FOX 35 contacted Marriott International, which owns both hotels. Michelle Valle, local spokesperson for the Grande Lakes Orlando, wrote this statement:

"Marriott International and Ritz-Carlton provide public accommodations and function space. Acceptance or refusal of business does not indicate support, or endorsement of any group or individual. 

"The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes made the decision to cancel the FreedomWorks reservation based on the group's call to protest and disrupt another group's meeting at the adjoining JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. 

"It was a legitimate concern over the possibility of a protest on the hotel's premises that resulted in the cancellation, not the group's philosophy.  

"The safety and security of our guests and associates is a top priority for us.  If we receive information of activities that could affect the security of our guests and employees or disrupt their activities, we take measures to address the situation in an effort to maintain a secure and comfortable environment. 

"We deny all allegations of discrimination and reiterate policy of zero tolerance of any type of discrimination."

Clarke disagrees with Valle's remarks.

"We're not going to disrupt anybody," said Clarke. "We're going to be out here on the sidewalk."

FPACC will still hold their training session on Saturday morning.  Interested participants are urged to email the following address for information: wneal@freedomworks.org.

Baird welcomes any questions and comments from concerned parents. He said he has worked with many conservative groups who hope to improve educational outcomes by going above and beyond "Common Core."

You're urged to email him at: Kevin.Baird@CollegeCareer.org.

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