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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Common Core foes target state education board meeting

TAMPA – The state Board of Education will meet Tuesday in Orlando to vote on nearly 100 proposed changes to Florida’s educational standards.

Touted as more rigorous goals for primary and secondary school students, the Common Core State Standards are slated to be fully ushered into classrooms in most states next school year, including Florida.

And Common Core opponents – including some from the Tampa Bay area – plan to be there in full force to speak out against the standards during a protest before the meeting, which begins at 8:30 a.m. The protest and press conference are scheduled for 8 a.m.

“We are still in the fight against Common Core – it is coming down to the wire,” Stacie Clarke, a founder of Florida Parents Against Common Core and coordinator of the organization’s Central Florida branch, wrote in a letter to other anti-Common Core groups.

Last month, the Florida Department of Education rolled out 98 proposed changes to the standards, which were adopted in 2010 and are now being referred to as “Florida Standards.”

The changes include a list of added calculus standards and a cursive requirement, and are the result of thousands of comments from teachers and parents fielded by the department.

Opponents, from both the right and left sides of the political spectrum, fear the standards amount to a takeover by the federal government and that they will put even more of an emphasis on high-stakes testing.

Among the protesters will be Emma Jane Miller, 62, of Valrico. Miller, who has three grown children and one grandchild on the way, taught at Bell Shoals Baptist Academy in Brandon for 12 years. She said the proposed changes are “cosmetic” and that she would like to see Florida opt out of the common standards completely.

“My biggest objection is that this is federally mandated,” she said. “Our state standards were excellent. Improve on those.”

Another former teacher, Nancy Fogle, 62, of Brandon will also be there. Fogle, who retired from a 34-year career in Hillsborough County school district elementary schools in 2011, believes some of the standards are too rigorous for children in the early grades.

“We started to see that things coming in were really developmentally inappropriate for kids,” she said.

The meeting will be held on the first floor of the Ronald Blocker Educational Leadership Center, 445 W. Amelia St. in Orlando, and will be live-streamed on the Florida Channel.

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Twitter: @ErinKTBO

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