As if education politics in Florida couldn’t get more complicated.
Opponents of Common Core in public schools are hoping to seize on anti-Common Core sentiment among their counterparts in private schools. The prompt: Calls by Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, for tax credit scholarship students in private schools to take the same standardized tests as their public school peers.
In a recent newsletter, the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition wrote:
“Senate President Gaetz is determined to impose Common Core standards on private schools by requiring the state Common Core tests for all voucher/scholarship tax credit students. He stated these intentions in an interview in the Orlando Sentinel and in his opening day of the legislature speech. (See our report. Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) is carrying this bill, SB 1620, which if changed and passed as Gaetz wants, would prevent up to 330,000 students from being free from Common Core. This is completely unacceptable. Please let him know how much of a problem this really is … “
A bill to strengthen and expand the scholarship program cleared the House Finance & Taxation Subcommittee last week on an 11-7, party-line vote. But the bill did not include testing language, and some House members said they opposed the proposed testing mandate. So far, no test language has surfaced with the Senate bill, either. (Full disclosure: the scholarship program is administered by Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog.)
Whether Common Core would help or hurt private schools and school choice has been a heated side debate in the fight over the standards. Some private schools clearly oppose the standards, while others are embracing them.