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Florida GOP lawmaker files bill to halt Common Core

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Debbie MayfieldA Republican lawmaker submitted a bill this week that will halt the implementation of national “common core” standards in Florida classrooms, in an effort to prevent what conservatives perceive as a federal takeover of local public schools.

House Bill 25, filed late Wednesday by Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, would specifically prohibit the State Board of Education from implementing common core in any subject areas other than math and English. It would also require the board to meet specific requirements before moving ahead in those two subject areas, according to the Florida Herald-Tribune.

The Herald-Tribune reported:

Mayfield’s bill would also require the state to pull out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, which is developing tests lined up with common core, and says the board “may not enter into or renew an agreement that cedes to an outside entity control over curricular standards or assessments.”

In an interview Thursday, Mayfield cited her 10th Amendment concerns.

“We need to stop common core going through,” she said. “We don’t need to be giving up state’s rights.”

Groups on both sides of this issue have been butting heads for years. The Herald-Tribune noted:

The standards, heavily promoted by former Gov. Jeb Bush, have divided the conservative movement about the way forward in education. Bush’s allies say common core will continue the accountability movement that swept the nation in the late 1990s and early 2000s, often pushed by conservative governors.

But opponents say the standards, developed by a partnership of governors and state school officials and promoted by the Obama administration, could eventually lead to federal control of the state’s classrooms. The standards are not a curriculum, as they are sometimes described, but do lay out what students will be expected to know at each grade level.

“We need standards, but we need to be the ones to set them ourselves,” Mayfield said.

She’s not alone on the issue. House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, have both pushed for similar measures that would drop PARCC, but didn’t go quite as far as Mayfield’s bill, which will be considered during the 2014 legislative session.

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