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Scott says feds looking for “entry point for intrusion” with school testing

by John Kennedy | September 24th, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday defended his decision to withdraw from a testing system central to evaluating new, nationwide school standards by saying it represented the federal government’s ”entry point for intrusion.”

Scott announced a day earlier that Florida would withdraw from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing program that accompanies the Common Core State Standards, which are poised to be deployed fully in the state next year.

The governor said he remained committed to high standards for students. But he is wary of the federal government.

“It’s their entry point to having more involvement in our education system,” Scott said of the PARCC system, which was developed largely by educators from Florida and other states, not the federal government. “My goal is lets make sure we continue to raise our standards. I want to thank Gov. Bush for his focus on that.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush remains a leading nationwide advocate for PARCC and Common Core. But tea party conservatives and liberal groups critical of student testing have combined to cloud its future in Florida and elsewhere.

“I remain committed to high standards, but we don’t need the federal government intruding in our lives,” Scott said.

At Scott’s urging, the Florida Education Department is planning three public hearings next months to hear from Floridians and interest groups about how to proceed on Common Core. The department also is charged with looking to develop a Florida-only test to replaced PARCC.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Scott again declined to openly endorse Common Core, echoing comments he made a day earlier in letters to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Florida Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand.

“A lot of people want to say, ‘is it yes or no to Common Core?’ and that’s not the right way to be looking at it,” Scott said. “It’s ‘yes’ to high standards…because that’s going to pay off in a global economy, and it’s ‘no’ to federal intrusion.”

 

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