In a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan Monday, Gov. Rick Scott called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers a "primary entry point for the involvement of the federal government in... state and local decisions."
Scott was so concerned that he called on the Florida Department of Education to withdraw from the multi-state consortium, which is developing student assessments around the new Common Core State Standards.
But when pressed by a reporter to explain how PARCC was an example of federal intrusion, Scott was short on details.
"If you look at it, it's their entry point into having more involvement in our education system, and my goal is, let's make sure we continue to raise our standards," Scott said. "I want to thank [former] Gov. [Jeb] Bush for his focus on that. He really led that effort and he's led it around the country, but I want to continue that focus on education, but we don't need the federal government intruding in our lives."
Asked a second reporter: "How can a test that's developed by a consortium of states be federal intrusion? How is that their entry point?"
Replied Scott: "It was their entry point to intrusion and their involvement in our system. What I believe in, is we should be able to come up with an assessment that works for us. Again, we want high standards but we don't need their involvement."
A third try from another reporter: "But governor, you haven't given us any examples. Give us an example of what you mean by federal intrusion. What specifically has happened?"
Scott: "It's the entry point to where the federal government would be more involved in our education system, and I oppose that. That's what I talked to Secretary Duncan about."
Scott also declined to say whether he supports the Common Core Standards, a set of new national benchmarks being taught in schools across the state. The governor returned to his talking points instead.
"A lot of people want to say, 'Is it 'yes' or 'no' to Common Core?'" he said. "That's not the right way of looking at it. It's 'yes' to high standards because that's what going to pay off in a global exconomy, and we say 'no' to federal intrusion."