by Senator John Legg

Education policy must now, and always, be state-driven and implemented at the local level. Washington bureaucrats will never know what is best for each individual state and should not assert to know as such. As conservatives, we must stand firm against the dangers of nationalization of school curriculum and be ever vigilant to not allow infringement on our 10th Amendment rights.

Sen. John Legg

Sen. John Legg

The Common Core State Standards are built upon strengths of current state standards but are internationally benchmarked, preparing all students to succeed in our global economy and society. Our framers, in their brilliance, allowed for this independence and collaboration through the 10th Amendment, which has produced results that are unparalleled. America’s prosperity is heavily dependent upon states learning from one another other and challenging each other to improve through competition, comparison, and collaboration.

There is little debate that our education standards nationwide have been stagnant. According to the report, The Learning Curve, developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the United States ranks 17th out of 40 countries in overall educational performance. Common Core State Standards present a path by which states can improve this ranking by setting rigorous, measurable standards based on 50 separate laboratories of learning that design their own curriculum and decide on implementation and assessments at the state and local levels, not the national level.

The movement to Common Core asserts higher-order thinking across disciplines and concepts, which will yield a higher quality of comprehension for students, ensuring they are prepared for college, the workforce or to become a business owner/job creator.  Common Core is a set of academic standards and does not pose an identity or security risk to students.

Florida, as an education reform leader, has adopted its own rigorous standards beyond the minimum Common Core State Standards, and local districts have the authority to increase expectations for their students even further. Our students deserve the best and if Common Core provides foundational standards for our students without 10th Amendment infringements, conservatives such as I, could not be more supportive.

Maybe Washington could learn from Common Core implementation regarding other areas of government by providing reasonable standards, then getting out of the way and letting states do what they do best.  This is indeed what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.

John Legg is a Republican senator from Pasco County, Fla., and the current chairman of the Florida Senate K-20 Education Policy Committee. He is also a certified teacher with more than 10 years of classroom experience and a charter school administrator.

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19 comments

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Ken Little September 24, 2013 - 6:48 pm

John,

I’m not sure I follow your argument. You suggest that education be left to the state and local level so that states can do what they do best, but in the long history of the United States only some of the states actually do what is best and some are always reticent to do the right thing, they actually fail to get the job done.

There are countless issues that the states have tripped over, starting from the very beginning when the framers failed to adequately address slavery. I understand why they did not, but then it was left as a hanging issue that the Fed eventually had to resolve.

The same thing has happened countless times now and continues to happen.

For example, Eisenhower wanted healthcare for all Americans, but wanted it left to the states to resolve. The states still have not solved this very dire problem over 50 years later.

Women’s suffrage, clean air and water, civil rights, healthcare, same-sex marriage, etc., etc., etc. Some states continuously fail to get the job done.

How can you imagine that the children of the USA will ever gain equitable access to a reasonable education when the problem is left to the states to solve. Some will and some simply will not solve the problem leaving many US citizen with a grossly inadequate education.

US citizens are receiving inequitable conditions across the board. Employment opportunities vary wildly from state to state and the various states actually compete with each other to attract jobs, which they take from other states. Wealthier states have the advantage in every category leaving poorer states in deep trouble.

As a country we can hardly allow some of our citizens to remain trapped in this state by state quagmire of inequity.

Grow to the next level. The whole country needs to pull together.

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Sean O'Neal October 22, 2013 - 2:55 pm

I find Mr. Legg’s comment’s interesting in that his children do not attend traditional public school and he is also the owner of a Charter School along with several of his other legislator’s. He is also sitting on the Jeb Bush Foundation which leads most Floridian’s wondering where his allegiance is – to the Education of the children of Florida or Jeb Bush’s bidding.

Mr. Legg last year told many visitors to Tally that he did not like Common Core but now we have him wording his support and trying to convince Floridian’s that Florida is a leader in Education when in fact they have been sliding down hill since the inception of Jeb Bush’s involvement in education and the implementation of NCLB. You can use your accountability scores all you like, but your own FCAT scores tell the true truth.

Are Florida’s legislators going to educate their children in Common Core or are you going to get some kind of waiver like with Obama Care?

The cronyism and lack of respect for the voter’s of this state is amazing. You give lip service, smile and then turn your backs to do as you please for the fulfillment of your campaign coffers. This is all about where you will get the most money from the businesses you are allowing to use our children as Human Capital and collateral in public-private partnerships.

Shame on all of you!

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Flacitizen November 25, 2013 - 8:22 pm

Mr. Legg,

As parents in Florida, trust me, we’re not “misinformed” (as you call us) on the perils of going to Common Core in Florida.

We’re very aware of who has promoted it, it’s lack of real-world effectiveness, the violations of privacy that come along with it, the socialist perspective to the material, who benefits financially from it’s implementation, and the extreme overreach of Federal involvement in the STATE’s responsibility for education. We also understand that this is not the administrations end-game with plans to make common core equivalencies required for college admittance, so the folks that were smart enough to avoid the public school system still bear the same millstone around their necks.

It appears that either you have chose to overlook these aspects for some reason (?), or you have not investigated these things for yourself, and are not qualified to make these decisions for the good people of Florida.

First and foremost, the worst aspect to Common Core is it’s socialist-leaning, history-rewriting, factually incorrect, social-justice based, leftist CRAP content. With the math word problems extolling how many more jellybeans little Johnny has than his undocumented friends in second grade and what percentage of guilt he should have because of his “racial privilege”… Math is no longer about repetition, formulas and drills, it’s an attempted lesson in social justice. Oh, and find me a textbook that reflects our founding fathers that wrote the Constitution in an accurate and favorable light instead of portraying them as a radical bunch of slave owners. Anything available on what the second amendment says accurately? Congress used to start with prayer sessions? Two Treatises of Government? (look it up)… How about a history textbook that talks about Ronald Reagan defeating the communists in the Cold War arms race more than his involvement in the Iran Contra hearings. Enough said.

It’s not “state-led.” The authors of the copyrighted Common Core are private entities, not subject to open meetings, accountability to voters or other proof of being state-led. Conditions of the federal ESEA waiver and Race to the Top application show how federally-pushed the Common Core agenda was. Now Obama has announced a tax to pay for Common Core technology in a ConnectEd Initiative, and has announced that he will redesign U.S. high schools.

How state-led does that sound?

It’s not academically legitimate. There’s no evidence to back up claims that the standards increase college readiness as they are experimental. The standards were written by D.C. groups who opined that classic literature should be curtailed to favor information texts. These groups felt that basic algorithms should be taught at delayed times. The unvetted ideas, unsupported by any academic research, formed Common Core. Many of those professional educators consulted on validating Common Core wouldn’t sign off on it.

It’s not amendable. The D.C.-based system defines and narrows learning yet has no amendment process. Once you have it, you’re stuck with it.

It’s not protective of privacy. Along with asking us to adopt Common Core, the federal government pushed the State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS) which now exist in each state. These give aggregate information to an Edfacts Data Exchange. Although private information gathered by schools, found in an SLDS, is not requiredto be given to D.C., it is requested. Federal entities request that states share identifiable student information: see the Common Education Data Standards, the Data Quality Campaign, and the National Data Collection Model.

To make matters worse, the Department of Education altered federal regulations in the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) reducing parental consent requirements and redefining “authorized representative,” “directory information” and “education agency” to obliterate privacy. Nice. If the game isn’t going your way, change the rules.

I’d go on, but I really question if you read these things and if it really matters to you. Homeschool’s a much better option anyways. I can teach my kids about God, limited government, and how capitalism and free markets created the most advanced and most respected country on the face of the earth, and nobody can say a thing to me. You can teach the kids you’re responsible for that the United States has it’s might as a result of slavery and colonialism and stolen resources and the only way to fix that is redistribution at the hands of a government that will take care of your every need. We’ll see which method produces the leaders, inventors and thinkers in 20 years.

Search Youtube for 30 minutes and I hope you’ll see the other side of the common core coin. It’s the least you owe the people of Florida.

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Grumpy November 29, 2013 - 2:18 pm

The Senator appears to be nothing more than another one of Jeb’s flukies..

He’s spouting the same talking points Bush and the Fordham institute dreamed up a few months ago- about the time he posted this piece.. Talking points are every bit as dishonest as Obama’s

“If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance”

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Linna November 26, 2013 - 12:46 pm

This man apparently does not know about the federalization of our kids … the data tracking, the attempt to equalize our kids to the standards of the rest of the world … lower our standards, so we are like everyrone else.

How did he miss out on the truth?

If he wants to know what he’s supporting and wants to be honest, let him see these two women that helped defeat Common Core in the state of Indiana.

http://tinyurl.com/cpt9hkf

Two Moms in Indiana – help defeat Common Core!

He needs to start reading like mad and then apologize for his ignorance!

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Karen Bracken November 29, 2013 - 11:39 am

Mr. Legg show me the proof you have obtained to support your statements and I will shut up about Common Core. Show us the international benchmarks that were used to create Common Core Standards. Show us the research. Show us the pilot studies that were conducted to demonstrate these standards are everything they say they are. SIR YOU CANNOT provide this proof so your statements are nothing more than spoon fed rhetoric. Does Bill Gates now have you on his payroll too? We can prove what we say against Common Core……can you prove what you say is factual?? I could go on for hours disputing you and your article but I will stop here. SHOW US THE PROOF or SHUT UP!

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Grumpy November 29, 2013 - 2:38 pm

Karen,

The Senator posted this about 6 months ago.. Jeb was making a lot of noise back then.. and the media more or less had him picked for the GOP nomination in ’16…

Senator Legg, seems to have thought he could ride Jeb’s coat tails somewhere.. Not a smart move, he really should have been paying attention to the voters…

…especially the mommies.

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Eric D. Miller November 29, 2013 - 11:50 am

With all due respect. HOOEY ! or if you prefer – HORSE HOCKEY. This is nothing less than a Progressive argument wrapped in a pretty group picture of cute little kids. Common Core is FCAT on steroids. It is teaching to the test. Jeb and crew could not get it right here in Florida after years and now you want to align to GLOBAL STANDARDS for a GLOBAL SOCIETY? How about we align to uor local districts and State standards and tell the Feds to keep their nose out of our lives. And while we are at it, how about the Florida State legislatures take a few years off and study the Constitution and some basic American history and philosophy.

Common Core is just that COMMON – I want exceptionalism for my children !

1. The condition of being exceptional or unique.

2. The theory or belief that something, especially a nation, does not conform to a pattern or norm.

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Marilynne Martin November 29, 2013 - 12:10 pm

Why Parents and Taxpayers Should NOT Support Common Core

For the past 4 decades the so called “educators” from state and federal govts, think tanks, elite universities, etc. have been rolling out “new math”, “critical thinking”, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top programs. These programs have cost us billions and have left us with kids so dumb they can’t read, write or do basic math. The US now spends many multiples more per kid and our world ranks have sank from the top to the bottom in ability.

I watched in horror as an 18 yr old, a product of our school system, could not read and write (Zimmerman trial). I thought she was dumb until someone advised me that the schools don’t value cursive writing and don’t teach it.

I watched in horror as a 17-19 yr old went into a panic when I gave her a $20 bill for a $9.10 order and then gave her 10 cents after she already punched in the $20. She got her calculator and punched things in three times before calling over a supervisor to help.

I was horrified as I watched my niece do long division 20 years ago. An equation that should have been performed in 3 lines took up a whole page! And I threw an algebra book down when another niece needed help – as I found no algebra in the chapter.

Solution? Get rid of all these programs, dig up the curriculum from the 50’s and start educating our kids properly.

Reject Common Core. Let our teachers teach.Each child is unique with different skills, let them flourish and build on the skills they have – college is not for everyone and will not benefit every child.

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Les November 29, 2013 - 12:14 pm

Obviously you know nothing of what you profess to know. Just another Jeb Bush puppet spouting typical Jeb BS

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Eric D. Miller December 1, 2013 - 2:07 pm

To begin, since it is such a tin foil hat idea to some, let’s get past the argument that Common Core is somehow a conspiracy or planned implementation of a National Education Curriculum with Progressive undertones and motives. I can come over to your level for a bit to have the discussion. So let’s set the “fundamental transformation” aside for a bit. I will set my tin foil hat aside if you will open your heart for a frank discussion.

Let’s start here. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged for more emphasis on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) results during his two terms in office.

But Bush isn’t mourning the end of the FCAT when a new Common Core State Standards — and tests — fully take effect in the fall of 2014.

Bush says FCAT was never meant to test whether students were ready for college or the job market. What?

“The Common Core State Standards are higher; they’re fewer; they require more critical thinking skills,” Bush said, “and they will, unfortunately, at the beginning, they will probably show that close to two-thirds of our children are not college and career ready.”

Bush isn’t worried that Common Core hasn’t been field tested, and he trusts experts who say Common Core more closely resembles international standards.

So am I to then surmise that the architect and proponent for FCAT is saying it was a failure therefore we should trust him on the new standards. If he was unable to orchestrate a successful State level centralized Educational system to effectively train and teach our children, what makes you think he has the answer for a National approach? He said it, not me.

Further, am I to understand we are now measuring ourselves on International Standards instead of being exceptional at home? Since when do we as Americans not have the rest of the world’s nation’s measuring against our achievement? Why should we bring ourselves down to their standards? We are America. We should be working towards better than International standards for ourselves. We are exceptional when we try.

I remember a day when educational standards were set at a District level and accountability was set locally. The further we march towards centralized education or anything centralized for that matter, we move further from success and accountability. Not to mention the level of control over our lives we give that centralized source.

Ok, so Jeb knows better than all of us. Well, at least Jeb knows the right experts that know better than him and he knows better than us what is good for our kids. I guess when you are a Progressive political elite you just know better. So we should accept that argument?

So, you are still not on board? Let’s look at this one. An elected Constitutional official in the State of Florida takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America and of Florida. Is this a formality or a personal oath sworn before God? I took the same oath as former Army service member. I know what it meant to me.

When the Constitution is blatantly misrepresented in Common Core teaching materials and American heroes like George Washington are drawn to parallels with Castro, what is your Constitutional duty and common sense tell you then? Does it even pique a concern?

South Carolina high school, and possibly many others, are reportedly using a history textbook that also contains a highly questionable interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Additionally, the publisher of a separate controversial advanced placement history textbook, which acts as a study guide for the advanced placement U.S. history exam and seems to diminish the Second Amendment, is directly linked to Common Core standards.

“The Second and Third Amendments — grant citizens the right to bear arms as members of a militia of citizen-soldiers and prevent the government from housing troops in private homes in peacetime,” the book’s summary reads. In a separate box on the same page it paraphrases the amendment as “the right to bear arms,” not the right to “keep” and bear arms.

I am sure I do not need to type the actual Amendment for you. I hope not anyway.

The first book, “United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination,” not only contains a controversial summary of the Second Amendment, but it also compares the “American mobs” who fought in the Revolutionary War to the “guerrilla bans that fought in such countries as Cuba in the 1950s and Vietnam in 1960s and points out that the Boston Tea Party was “far too radical” for some.

There are lists of items like the one above that relate to common core related teaching materials used and provided to the States. A simple internet search will reveal them to you.

Of course you will be determining the curriculum, as long as you find Common Core text books that meet the Common Core standard like the mentions above.

Still not there yet? Let’s try this one. If you take a thirty thousand foot look at the machinations of Federalization, Constitutional overreach and blatant efforts to “fundamentally transform” America, how can you say that Common Core is not a major component of that Transformation? And being such, how can you think for one minute it is good?

What if we rename Common Core, Affordable Care Act? That is another great nationalized initiative. We have nationalized healthcare and can see how that is going. Now we think it is a good idea to nationalize education?

Ok, still not convinced? Most elected politicians have a higher degree of ego than most. Not bad, just a fact. So let me try to appeal to your ego. Here goes, Washington D.C. is infringing on your power. That’s right; they are trampling the 10th amendment. That is where you have your power. And they are taking another piece of it away.

The real question is, when a state leaves and goes out on its own, what kind of a product do they get by working alone? That should be apparent. They get a major challenge. They get to retain control. They can build on past success and on past failure. They can use the talent they have to build a system tailored to their State. They can be one of 50 laboratories each sharing information and each using what is best for their State. What they do not get is a centralized and mandated approach to indoctrination and Federal control over one of the most important aspects of our life, our children’s education.

I now many of you by first name and have served with some on Boards, Political Committees and non-profits. I know you are not bad people. I also know how the game is played though. This is no time to being playing that game however.

To those with a vote in the legislature I say this openly. You and you alone must reconcile your decision with your conscience and your God. Your action on this matter will be a reflection thereof.

When the day comes for your constituents to reflect on your decision, be certain that a small army of patriots will be there to remind them of your choice. That is not a threat but a promise. For those that fight to preserve our Nation and State we will be there to herald your stance. For those that settle, acquiesce or are too damn stupid to know what is going on, we will be there to make sure your constituents know that as well.

It is time to act in the interest of this Nation and our State and in the interest of our children and their children instead of your own financial and political gain.

May God Bless you. May you open your heart and mind to the reality of what is today. May God show you the path to take. And may he grant you the courage to do what needs to be done.

Yours in Service,

Eric D. Miller

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Dr. Robert Dreyfus November 29, 2013 - 4:45 pm

Common Core
By Dr. Robert Dreyfus

Common Core is the latest of many so called reforms such as: Head Start, School To Work, Goals 2,000, No Child Left Behind, Race To The Top, International Baccalaureate and Pre K. In discussing educational issues, it is easy to get mired in the minutia and the acronyms which distract from the real issues. What is important is that you understand that the purpose of Common Core and all of these other programs has been:
• To give hope.
• To distract the public.
• To cover up the disaster of the public (government) school system.
• To get more money. The system currently costs taxpayers over twice that which a much better education would cost in a private or Christian school.
• To make people believe that government and the educational bureaucracy is hard at work to improve the system.
• To complete the takeover and control of the public school system by federal, state government and multinational corporations.
• To halt the growth of alternative education.

The most prestigious study ever done on the public school system was by The National Commission on Excellence in Education. In 1983 they published their report, A Nation At Risk which stated, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war

After many years of studying education practices, I along with many others, have concluded that sending a child into the public school system is akin to legalized child abuse. From the beginning the purpose of the system was to dumb down the populace, to destroy a child’s faith in God, and to indoctrinate them into a secular socialist world view. The horrid government school system has accomplished all these goals, and is the root cause of ninety percent of the problems America is now facing.

In spite of the fact that we would like to see schools improve, government school reform is a myth. The reality is that the only thing that would improve educational results, and give children the opportunity to live a fulfilled life would be to close down the government school system.

The book, “Leaving School – Finding Education” addresses this issue. One of the authors, Dr. Jon Wiles, has written a dozen books in the area of educational leadership, and worked as a consultant specializing in curriculum change in 40 states and 10 foreign nations. Coauthor, Dr. John Lundt for the past 15 years has served as Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Montana, and has consulted with educational agencies throughout the world. Here are excerpts from their book:

“Schools are now in a dysfunctional state…The time has arrived for the United States to think seriously about bidding farewell to its schools… they are a relic from another age…public schools are responsible for increasing amounts of cultural decay and social dysfunction in our society… Schools have no hope of reforming themselves. There has been no lasting change in half a century. Schools cannot and will not change… Schools are resistant to changing; they have always been this way… Parents should be both frightened and outraged at this lack of relevance and this leadership incompetence… Schools are the largest impeding force in our nation… Schools are beginning to pull other institutional agencies downward…This is an institution, your authors believe, in its final days…An alternative must be found quickly. What we believe, after very full careers in schools as teachers, administrators, and curriculum leaders, is that defining any improvement in the school will be both a futile exercise and a self defeating proposition… The American school cannot be fixed…We believe the United States must seriously explore abandoning the school as the vessel of learning and move to redefine education in terms of other options. We believe that a failure to break away, soon, will result in a surprising rapid deterioration of the institution, and the even further decline in the general culture of the United States…America can shed its final monopoly…We currently have all of the technology needed to provide a quality education to all students in the comfort and safety of their own homes… the authors believe we are poised, unknowingly, on the brink of a major change in education in the United States. Our schools while imposing in scale, are precariously fragile in reality. Any coalition of parents, taxpayers, businessmen, and concerned educators has the power to influence the most significant change in American education. The question is, what are we waiting for? “

What would you call a system?

• That deliberately dumbs down children.
• That indoctrinates children into accepting homosexuality.
• That destroys children’s Christian faith.
• That increases children’s sexual behavior.
• That sexually molests children. The U.S. Department of Education stated that 4.5 million students were victims of sexual misconduct by teachers and school employees in the past decade.
• That drugs children to make them easier to handle.
• That leads to increased illegal drug use by children.
• That places children in physical danger.
• That teaches children there are no absolutes.
• That promotes New Age philosophy.
• That indoctrinates children with the philosophy of socialism.
• That indoctrinates children with the religion of Secular Humanism.

I would call it evil.

Christians are holding the rope that supports the system. We need to let go of the rope by removing our children from the government schools. Why prop up an anti-Christian institution by our participation? Let it die a well deserved death. The system has changed the culture and morality of Americans. Studies by George Barna show that only 9% of the average congregation and only 51% of pastors operate from a biblical worldview. If your pastor isn’t informing the congregation that this system is devastating children academically, morally and spiritually on this issue, why is he your pastor?

We should view Common Core in the same was as we would view attempting to make Nazi concentration camps or Soviet gulags better by changing their name to Renewal Centers, putting curtains in the gas chambers, painting the barracks pink and playing loud music to cover up the screams of those being tortured and killed. Common Core will change the appearance, not the essence of the system.

Adolph Hitler said, “When an opponent declares, I will not come over to your side, I calmly say, Your child belongs to us already…. What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.”

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Ron Matus December 1, 2013 - 3:43 pm

Hi all, I reluctantly deleted a couple of comments that crossed the line. We appreciate the passion that Common Core opponents bring to the debate, and we appreciate, too, that there are thoughtful arguments against it. But there’s no place on any side of the debate for name calling and vulgar insults. Your arguments are likely to be more persuasive without it.

Ron Matus
Ron Matus December 1, 2013 - 3:45 pm

Hi all, I reluctantly deleted a couple of comments that crossed the line. We appreciate the passion that Common Core opponents bring to the debate, and we appreciate, too, that there are thoughtful arguments against it. But there’s no place on any side of the debate for name calling and vulgar insults. Your arguments are likely to be more persuasive without it.

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Thais December 1, 2013 - 5:43 pm

Rep. Legg,

As an attorney, I can tell you that you have it all backwards. The framers did not intend for the federal government to lead the way in many issues, including education. For you to suggest that the federal government lead the way and then get out of the way is an oxymoron. As previous commentators above have alluded to, it is clear that you have personal interest vested in the push for the Common Core.

If you were a true conservative, and a lover of liberty (which means smaller government), you would want to reduce the size of the federal government, not encourage its growth.

Sorry to inform (and to be so bold) you Rep. Legg, but you are a progressive who has mistaken yourself for a Republican. You should consider running as a lover of big government based on your political stance and ideology, or perhaps you are in the right (not) party which today stands for cronyism. Both poor choices…

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Pat Ellis January 28, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Dear Rep. Legg, with all due respect, it’s obvious you really don’t know much about Common Core. Due diligence, please!
Pat Ellis

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Anonymous February 23, 2014 - 6:18 am

Hi all, for the second time on this post I’ve had to go in and delete a comment because it crossed the line. We appreciate everyone who visits the blog and takes time to comment, and we know there are strong feelings about the subject. But there’s no need for cussing and personal attacks. Please keep it clean. Your comments will be more persuasive if they are.

Ron Matus
Ron Matus February 23, 2014 - 6:21 am

Hi all, for the second time on this post I’ve had to go in and delete a comment because it crossed the line. We appreciate everyone who visits the blog and takes time to comment, and we know there are strong feelings about the subject. But there’s no need for cussing and personal attacks. Please keep it clean.

Comments are closed.