Tampa 912 targets Common Core State Standards for education
TAMPA - They’re fighting mad over a switch to Common Core State Standards for education in Indiana, Ohio and other places across the nation. Now you can add Hillsborough County to that list. A standing-room-only crowd of more than 125 people packed an American Legion hall on Tuesday night to rail against Florida’s planned move to a Common Core-based curriculum along with most of the rest of the country. Those at the Tampa 912 meeting on West Kennedy Boulevard heard allegations of how local control would be gone regarding curriculum and the future direction of schools. They listened to concerns about how schools would become pawns of federal officials and that over-reaching data on student performance would be kept on their children without their permission.They worried about what books their children would be required to read and how they would — or would not — be taught. “I just have a lot of concerns,” said Gloria Harmon, who described herself as a former teacher. “What about local control? It is the key. Who is going to decide what our kids are going to learn?” Forty-five states including Florida have signed on to follow Common Core standards. The standards are designed to allow states to better compare student performance and better prepare students for college and careers. Dissension has been growing in states that have approved it. Last week, the Indiana Senate passed a measure asking for that state’s board of education to take a second look at the standards. Many parents in Ohio and other states also are unhappy. That unhappiness was on display Tuesday night in Tampa. “We may not be able to undo it overnight, but we have to step on the brakes,” said Tim Curtis, one of the leaders of the Tampa 912 group. “This is a huge issue that will affect future generations to come if we do not take action,” said Karen Effrem, who serves on the boards of Education Liberty Watch and the Alliance for Human Research Protection. Not everyone agreed that Common Core was such a bad thing, however. “I don’t buy into this,” Bob White, the father of two students in Hillsborough public schools, said of the outcry. Hillsborough County School Board member Stacy White, no relation, told the crowd that local school board members could do little to stop Common Core: “This is really being driven from a higher level.” He urged parents to call and write legislators and other state officials with their concerns. “You have to strike while the iron is hot,” White said.