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Scott: Florida should pull out of PARCC

Gov. Rick Scott is directing the state Education Board to withdraw from the national consortium creating tests to accompany the new Common Core State Standards.

Scott sent a letter to state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand Monday recommending a six-point action plan for pursuing higher standards in education.

His first recommendation: pull out of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and start the competitive bidding process to select the state's new assessment.

Scott also suggested the education department hold a series of public hearings on the Common Core benchmarks to "identify any opportunity to strengthen or risks for federal intrusion in Florida's standards."

In addition, Scott penned a note to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan informing the federal government of Florida's intentions to sever its fiscal ties with the PARCC. Florida had previously been named the consortium's "fiscal agent."

Scott reiterated his commitment to high standards in Florida to Duncan.

"In recent months, however, the debate over how to best accomplish this has devolved into whether Floridians and all Americans are simply 'for Common Core' or 'against Common Core,' with federal government involvement in PARCC a central part of the problem for states," he wrote.

The measure comes amid mounting controversy over the standards, which were developed by the National Governors Association and are being taught in schools statewide.

Critics, including Tea Party groups, say education decisions should be made on the local level, not by the federal government.

-- KATHLEEN McGRORY AND STEVE BOUSQUET

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