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Crowd calms down at third Common Core hearing

Thursday night's third and final public hearing on the Common Core State Standards was far less testy than the one that preceded it.

About 60 people came to the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education Auditorium at Tallahassee Community College to share their thoughts on the new national benchmarks, which are already being taught in schools statewide.

The speakers included parents, grandparents, teachers and taxpayers.

Some made the case for the Common Core.

Wayne Blanton, of the Florida School Boards Association, said the new standards would "help our students be more competitive on a national basis."

He dismissed the idea that the Common Core would remove power from local school boards.

"Common Core standards do not establish a national curriculum, nor do they require that educators teach a specific curriculum," he said. "Local districts, local schools continue to be responsible for the curriculum and the delivery of that curriculum."

Dorina Sackman, an Orange County educator who was named Florida's Teacher of the Year, urged parents to visit their schools and watch the standards being taught.

"See Common Core happening in the classrooms," she said. "It's absolutely wonderful."

Opponents, however, voiced concerns that the standards were poorly written and inappropriate for children in some grade levels.

There were also plenty of swipes at government.

“These standards are just another way for government to control the minds of people,” said Carlos Ramirez, who teaches his children in his Tallahassee home. “Common Core seems to me like Common Communism."

Said Victor Hajos, a 75-year-old Tallahassee resident: "The more you get government involved in something, the worse it gets."

Gov. Rick Scott requested the three hearings to get public feedback on the Common Core.

State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart took notes throughout the meetings. She plans to deliver a report to the state Board of Education in November.

Comments

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Anti-Tallahassee

The common core standards are NOT age appropriate - especially in the lower grades. This is really a result of the testing craze. Schools are paranoid to let students (mostly boys) get to the 3rd grade without being completely independent readers. The paranoia stems from the fear of lower scores on standardized tests. Don't let common core advocates like Jeb Bush fool you. Their real interest lies in the materials needed to "measure" the standards. Pearson stands to make BILLIONS off of common core. Then Bush will argue for more "choice," which will funnel even MORE money into his wealthy friends' pockets. Common Core at its heart is a giant corporate welfare program designed to go national.

Anti-Tallahassee

The Common Core standards have a lot of potential. However, if they are as valid as people like Jeb Bush believe, they do NOT need to be FORCED on communities by a centralized government. The Common Core can stand on its own and be tested, implemented, revised, etc... by communities. Jeb Bush does not favor this kind of approach because he has ulterior motives. He wants to use the Common Core as a Trojan horse. He'll get it implemented in a top down manner. He will get the ignorant politicians to mandate testing designed to discredit schools. Then he will rake in public education money for his wealthy welfare buddies. The things that won't happen in this process: communities will NOT be improved; children will NOT be educated better. Bush and his friends WILL get richer.

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