Florida Legislature Passes Textbook Bill to Hit Back at Common Core

Thursday, 01 May 2014 12:21 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Amid the ongoing controversy across the country over Common Core education standards, the Florida Legislature passed a bill Thursday that would require school districts to hold a public hearing if parents object to new textbooks introduced in classrooms.

According to The Associated Press, the legislation is now on its way to GOP Gov. Rick Scott for his consideration. The legislation would not get rid of an existing state review of textbooks.

Earlier in the month, the Florida Senate narrowly approved a bill that would have eliminated the state's authority to review textbooks, forcing districts to take up the responsibility. The House, however refused to agree to the proposal which was opposed by school boards and Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, AP reported.

The introduction of Common Core has created divisions among Republicans across the United States. Opponents say the system is a federal attempt to take control of local school standards, while others believe it is an important mechanism to improve student performance.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, for example, urged state officials to follow through on Common Core education standards despite what he called an "avalanche" of criticism from those who oppose them.

"These standards, the Common Core State Standards, are clear and straightforward. They will allow for more innovation in the classroom, less regulation, they'll equip students to compete with their peers across the globe," Bush said at the Mackinac Policy Conference in late May, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

"Do not pull back. Please do not pull back from high, lofty standards."

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another possible 2016 presidential candidate has come out strongly against the standards.

"Common Core started out as a well-intentioned effort to develop more rigorous curriculum standards," Rubio said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times.

"However, it is increasingly being used by the Obama administration to turn the Department of Education into what is effectively a national school board. This effort to coerce states into adhering to national curriculum standards is not the best way to help our children attain the best education. Empowering parents, local communities and the individual states is the best approach."

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