Governor Rick Scott is suffering from political vertigo and consequently thinks he only needs to dust off his 2010 Gubernatorial Playbook in order to win re-election in 2014 – wrong!
After bludgeoning Alex Sink with $60 million of his own money (a 2:1 ratio) he only managed to beat her by a 1% difference in the popular vote. It’s also important to keep in mind that Mrs. Sink imploded at the end of the race due to her role in overseeing the funding of the 1st District Court of Appeals Building (The Tallahassee Taj Mahal) and then her refusal to admit that she received an illegal text during a televised gubernatorial debate – big mistake!
By contrast Charlie Crist is a seasoned politician: a former Commissioner of Education, Attorney General, and Florida governor – Charlie Crist can manage his message deftly – Nota Bene that Crist has already ingratiated himself with both the new left, young radicals who hate businessmen like Rick Scott, and with the well-heeled members of the Gay Coalition. Charlie Crist has so muddied the per pupil expenditure issue that Governor Scott is left swatting the air.
Rick Scott has to wage an effective campaign on more than just economics and jobs, he needs to hit Charlie Crist with a knock-out punch otherwise Charlie Crist will run circles around Governor Scott in the media until November 4th.
An issue is ready made and it will carry a wallop of a punch this fall as Florida’s families send their most precious possessions back to school. The issue is of course the repeal of Common Core 2.0, also known as the Florida State Sunshine Core Standards.
From a pedagogical perspective, the Common Core of State Standards Initiative is an abomination – it is also Charlie Crist’s glass jaw since he agreed to bring it to Florida.
The K-2 standards promote abstract thinking, a skill that sounds good but one young children cannot perform due to their still developing brains. This academic disaster is best presented by Dr. James Stergios, Executive Director of The Pioneer Institute, a Boston-based think tank as follows:
Common Core emphasizes experiential, skills-based learning while reducing the amount of classic literature, poetry, and drama taught in English classes. Its more vocational bent includes far greater emphasis on jargon-laden “informational text” extracts, and it elevates soft skills like global awareness, media literacy, cross-cultural flexibility and adaptability, and creativity to equal footing with academic content.
…Stanford University emeritus professor of mathematics James Milgram, the only academic mathematician on Common Core’s validation committee (refused to sign off on the final draft of the national standards.) He describes the standards as having “extremely serious failings,” reflecting “very low expectations,” and ultimately leaving American students one year behind their international peers by fifth grade and two years behind by seventh grade.
In 2009 President Obama became an understudy to Don Corleone: “I’m gonna make him (former Governor Charlie Crist) an offer he can’t refuse. Okay? I want you to leave it all to me.” Crist took the $700 million in the Race to the Top Stimulus money and passed the money around to elected officials like Shirley Brown and the rest of the Sarasota County School Board. Crist’s dangled $3.5 million in front of Shirley Brown and Superintendent Lori White, both women embraced Common Core without a single public hearing and without a single field study. The expert consideration of Sarasota County Teachers was superfluous to Commissar White and her sycophants.
Yet today, Governor Rick Scott pussyfoots around this critical issue – indeed he simply gave the common core beast a haircut and a new name. Shame on him. Governor take a deep breath and cut ties with Common Core 2.0. Tell the people of Florida that you made an honest mistake – tell them you’ve examined this educational monstrosity more closely and have found it too dangerous both from a pedagogical perspective and an incredible overreach on the part of the federal government. Sir, if you do this and adopt either the Massachusetts “Liberal Arts” Standards from 1993 or the Florida Next Generation Standards from 2009 you will crush Charlie “Common Core” Crist this fall. (Word Total: 690)
Geoffrey G. Fisher is a federally designated Highly Qualified state-certified history teacher living in southwest Florida. He holds a BA in History from the University of Connecticut and a MA in Public Policy from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. In addition to teaching he is a former elected education official and speechwriter.