State Senator Greg Evers, R-Pensacola, has filed a bill in the Florida Senate that would get rid of the Common Core education standards in Florida, unless the Board of Education can hold a series of public hearings and tell the state exactly how much Common Core would cost.
Education activists have been anxiously waiting to see if SB 1316 would be filed as a companion bill to HB 25 in the State House. In order to get a bill heard and passed, a bill must have something similar in the other chamber of the Legislature.
Common Core standards have been a hot button issue for State Senator Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, a co-presenter of the bill. He says his phones have been ringing off the hook over the issue, so much so, that if you call his office and get the answering machine, you are told the companion bill has been filed and are asked if you would lie to leave a comment on Common Core.
"All the parents that have contacted me have condemned Common Core," he says.
Hays is adamantly pro standards in public schools, but he believes Common Core may not go far enough. He complained that the standards only prepare a graduate for the lowest level of community college and feels our children can do much better.
"The parents that have contacted me and the teachers that have contacted me have been exceptionally upset over what they have seen in the Common Core materials."
Sen. Hays and I reviewed some of those materials, including a math problem where something called a "math lattice" was used. Hays wondered if parents were taught a math lattice when they were growing up.
"I could best classify it as confused, and I made it through two-quarters of calculus. I think that's a waste of time, and to me it appears to be 'dumbing down' the system."
Sen. Hays would not commit to ending Common Core in the state of Florida, but did pledge to learn more about the standards, practices, and effects on kids in Florida schools.
"I think a good, long pause on Common Core would be appropriate. I think there are so may very serious questions about it that we do need to just call timeout."
Gov. Rick Scott has not committed to ending Common Core either. The Florida Legislature would have to do something in order to stop its implementation though.
Earlier this month, the state Board of Education removed the words "Common Core" from all of its documents, but did vote to continue using the standards.
The 2014 regular Legislative Session will convene at 10 a.m. next Tuesday.