Mothers fighting Common Core in the state of Florida have realized that the state legislature has stalled in its aim to suspend the Sunshine State’s Common Core-derived education policy, so they are taking a new tact: putting pressure on Florida Governor Rick Scott (R).
80 members of the group Florida Parents Against Common Core protested outside a Jupiter Island fundraiser for the governor on March 9. A separate group, Stop Common Core Florida, recently met with the governor’s education adviser.
The Tampa Bay Times also reports that Florida Republicans are pressuring the governor to get off the sidelines and take action against the testing standards.
“It’s time for Rick Scott to listen to the people,” Chris Quackenbush, a grandmother and businesswoman who opposes Common Core, told the media. “How does he expect to win re-election without his base?”
But Scott has a political problem. To beat Democrat challenger Charlie Crist, Scott needs the support of moderate Republicans in the state who support the testing standards. So, he is trying to placate both sides as he runs for re-election.
Further, former Governor Jeb Bush, still a powerful force among the state’s Republicans, is the most important Common Core supporter in the state. In fact, he is one of the biggest boosters of the from-the-top standards that take control away from local school boards, teachers, and parents.
Early in January, Gov. Scott insisted that he was against Common Core, pledging that the state, not the federal government, would control education.
Still, Common Core detractors are suspicious of Scott’s commitment to their cause. After all, he only recently came to oppose the state’s Common Core program.
In January, Laura Zorc, co-founder of Florida Parents Against Common Core, was critical of Gov. Scott’s announced changes to the Florida Common Core standards, saying that they didn’t go far enough.
Zorc noted that much of the tweaking of the standards were made with the assistance of a pair of Washington-based Common Core organizations, and such action isn’t “proving they are Florida standards.”
Like Quackenbush, in March, Zorc also pointed out that the opponents of Common Core are mostly conservatives and Republicans, and if Scott hopes to be re-elected, he’d better remember that.