A Florida grassroots anti-Common Core organization has released a voter guide for the upcoming primary elections, grading state lawmakers and political hopefuls on their commitment to abolishing the controversial Common Core State Standards in the Sunshine State.
Florida Stop Common Core Coalition looked at six different primary races around the state and gave each candidate an A-F letter grade based on their positions against Common Core.
The group also released guides for voters to see which candidates didn’t just talk the talk on fighting Common Core, but walked the walk and worked to defeat Common Core.
FSCCC says the races were chosen where the candidates “worked really hard” against Common Core, publicly promised to work against it, or promoted it while making false claims of working against it.
"Our grading system, just like that in schools, rewards hard work and punishes deception," FSCCC Executive Director Dr. Karen Effrem explained.
Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, received the top grade out of the 23 candidates, earning an A++.
Mayfield is running for Senate District 17, which covers all of Indian River County and part of Brevard County. She’ll face off against Michael Thomas and Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, in the Republican primary.
Workman in particular has been the subject of intense ire from anti-CCSS groups after he released a campaign ad saying he led the fight against Common Core in Florida, a statement anti-CCSS groups strongly opposed. Workman received an “F” from FSCCC.
Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, also nabbed an “A+” rating. Pilon, who is running for Senate District 23, teamed up with Mayfield on several anti-Common Core bills in the House.
“I was engaged [in the fight against Common Core] and supported Mayfield,” Pilon said.
Some of Pilon’s other opponents, like Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, also received positive grades (Steube received a B+), while former state Rep. Doug Holder received an “F," partially due to a misleading mailer.
“He really has not been involved in the fight at all except for voting for the deceptive bills that removed Common Core from statute,” FSCCC said, saying the mailer Holder sent weeks ago calling him a “fighter” against Common Core was false.
Other candidates who have falsely campaigned on anti-Common Core efforts didn’t fare as well with the group.
FSCCC slammed Republican Party of Florida Vice Chair Joe Gruters for suggesting the state “rebrand” Common Core as “Florida standards” at the governor’s education summit in 2013.
"it is critical that promotion of this system and deceit about records not be rewarded," continued Effrem. "The actions, campaign materials, of Reps. Workman (F), O'Toole (F), Passidomo (D), Baxley (D), former Rep. Holder (F), and candidate Joe Gruters (D-) are incredibly disappointing and dangerous.”
The group says it wants voters to be informed about the true motives of candidates, and believes the ratings are a good start.
"We as parents and grandparents cannot and will not tolerate Common Core deceit because the actions of these public officials have such enormous impact on the futures and privacy of our children," Effrem said.