Florida charter school group: So much misinformation about Common Core

Ron Matus

An advocacy group for charter school parents in Florida is warning its parents about widely circulating myths regarding Common Core State Standards. While the recent newsletter from Parents for Charter Schools doesn’t endorse Common Core, it does attempt to dispel what it says are a few misleading statements – and in tone, its language echoes that of Common Core supporters.

parents for charter schools logo“There is so much misinformation out there and we all know that knowledge is power,” says the newsletter, which is posted on the group’s facebook page. “Some of the more common myths are that we will bring the standards down to the lowest common denominator. This (is) just not true. The standards will be brought up (to) the higher standards.”

The charter school parent group’s statements are another intriguing tidbit in the battle over Common Core, which has fuzzed up traditional lines between education factions. It also further complicates, at least in Florida, a side skirmish over whether the standards will help or hurt school choice.

As we’ve reported before, many private schools in Florida are embracing Common Core as part of a parental engagement effort led by Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog. Many Catholic schools in Florida and beyond have also warmed to the standards, though with a faith-based twist and with more reticence recently as political heat over the standards has risen.

Charter schools, like other choice sectors, are incredibly diverse, so caution should obviously be used before sweeping statements are made about charters and Common Core. Parents for Charter Schools is affiliated with the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, which represents hundreds of charters. One of the parent group’s co-chairs, Henry Rose, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The group ended its newsletter with a balanced but cautionary note: “It is obvious that (with Common Core) the student has to do more than just repeat facts back and put them in a five sentence paragraph. The student must think and understand the material. It appears that our students will have more standardized testing but who really knows this is going to work. When any new educational strategy is put in place it takes time for the professionals to tweak and work out the kinks. We do not really know exactly what this is going to look like in the end and how it will ultimately be implemented is yet to be seen.”

In August, the Center for Reinventing Public Education sent a similar message. It said on its blog that while there was optimism among charter school leaders about Common Core, many were not up to speed on details and many charter school support groups had done little to prepare the schools for the new types of instruction that will be required.

“With all its flexibilities and nimbleness, the charter sector could be a small but powerful “little red caboose” for new Common Core educational designs, the post said. But, the authors added, “there is also a strong possibility that Common Core implementation could derail the charter movement, especially if schools are not adequately prepared for the depth of instructional change the new standards imply.”

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4 comments

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Chris Guerrieri October 31, 2013 - 12:49 pm

I was wondering if you felt any of below was misinformation

Endorsing common core is to endorse the high stakes testing culture we have now. Somewhere along the way tests went from being a tool to see how kids were doing to the whole kit and caboodle. Common Core does nothing to eliminate or even tone down the testing which has sucked the joy out of learning and teaching for countless students and teachers.

The Cost, despite what Pam Stewart says common core is going to be expensive, estimates for Florida range from a couple hundred million into the billions. Now undoubtedly some of those costs will replace costs we otherwise would have incurred. Some of those costs that is and it should be a huge red flag that the powers that be are not trying to clarify the expenses. Most of that money by the way will be diverted away from schools and classrooms.

Next it does not address the problem facing our schools which is poverty. When you factor out poverty our children zoom to the top of the international rankings. Common core does absolutely nothing to address poverty and until we do all common core does is throw money down a hole, sorry make that into the bank accounts of testing companies, who are the primary financial backers of people like Jeb Bush who support Common Core.

Finally if Jeb Bush is for it you should be against it. Everything he has supported from his A-F grading scale to charters and vouchers have done great harm to education. He is a flim flam man who sends his children to exclusive prep schools with small classes without high stakes tests while at the same time sentencing our children to schools he would never send his kids to. Furthermore since he was in charge of our education system for 8 years he in effect is saying, I got it wrong with the standards we had in place when I was in charge, I would like a do over, a very expensive do over that doesn’t address our problems (poverty) and allows my backers to get rich, sorry make that richer.

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Jason Bedrick October 31, 2013 - 1:18 pm

There’s certainly a lot of misinformation about Common Core… both for and against.

Some of the misinformation was peddled by Common Core backers, who promised us that CC didn’t prescribe a curriculum or pedagogical methods but have since changed their tune:

http://educationnext.org/fordham-and-cc-backers-need-to-get-their-story-straight/

Sounds like, “if you like your curriculum, you can keep it.”

Moreover, CC employs facile metrics like “lexiles,” which measure the length of sentences and vocabulary, to determine the complexity of texts, reaching the absurd conclusion that “The Hunger Games” is more complex than “Grapes of Wrath” and that Sports Illustrated for Kids is more complex than “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/115393/common-core-standards-make-mockery-novels-complexity

Finally, as the renowned Professor Eric Hanushek of Stanford noted recently: “simply calling for students to know more is not the same as students actually knowing more. The largest problem is that the discussions of common core suck all of the air out of the room, distracting attention from any serious efforts to reform our schools.”

http://educationnext.org/some-perspective-on-common-core/

Patrick R. Gibbons
Patrick R. Gibbons November 1, 2013 - 9:07 am

Hey Jason,

Thanks for sharing those counterpoints, we appreciate the discussion! I can’t wait to see the responses to those good points. Thanks again!

Thomas Talks on Citrus Schools by Thomas Kennedy » Two Articles on Common Core Worth Reading October 31, 2013 - 7:48 pm

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