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Rick Scott to Pull the Plug on PARCC

September 22, 2013 - 6:00pm

In the latest chapter of the battle of Common Core State Standards, Gov. Rick Scott will tell U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan that Florida will withdraw from the Common Core assessment test, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

According to the Palm Beach Post, Scott will notify Duncan by letter.

The governor's decision to pull out of PARCC comes after several high-profile Florida legislators expressed opposition to the test, including Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, who condemned the assessment because they believe it ultimately will be too time-consuming and costly for Florida schools.

Too many questions remain unanswered with PARCC regarding implementation, administration, technology readiness, timeliness and utility of results, security infrastructure, data collection and undetermined cost, wrote Gaetz and Weatherford in a letter to former Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett this summer. We cannot jeopardize 15 years of education accountability reform by relying on PARCC to define a fundamental component of our accountability system. Our schools, teachers, and families have worked too hard for too long for our system to collapse under the weight of an assessment system that is not yet developed, designed or tested.

After learning of the governor's action, Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, issued the following statement:I applaud Governor Scott for taking decisive and bold action to affirm Floridas constitutional role in education.

"For the past 15 years, Florida has been on a purposeful road to improve our schools through higher standards, greater accountability and higher pay for our best teachers. These efforts are paying off and our students are achieving better results.

"In the Common Core debate, Governor Scotts actions today strike the perfect balance between states' rights and states' responsibilities. While I support our current standards, I think it is appropriate to undertake a transparent and thorough review with public input. We will not retreat one inch from our ambitious pursuit of the highest quality education system in the nation.

Rep. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, has also been vocal against Common Core. Mayfield recently filed legislation to have Florida pull out of PARCC. In addition to leaving PARCC behind, her bill would also require the state Board of Education to meet certain requirements before moving forward with the English and math portions of the standards and specifically bar it from implementing Common Core in any other subject areas.

PARCC has been just one issue many have with Common Core, which is expected to be fully implemented in Floridas schools by the 2014-2015 school year.

The assessment was met with criticism at last weeks state Board of Education meeting when Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart was asked to start looking into the steps for Florida to create its own assessment in time for the 2014-2015 school year.

Scott is expected to send the request to Stewart as well, though he is not anticipated to have the Sunshine State withdraw from Common Core completely.

Common Core has already drawn significant criticism from parents, legislators and members of the public who condemn the national standards as government overreach and worry about the possibility of data mining as a result of the standards.

Scott is expected to issue an executive order on Monday to set the framework for state education officials to enact the policy switch. State board member Kathleen Shanahan alluded to the order at last week's board meeting, but was not specific on what it was about.

With the end of PARCC in Floridas future comes questions of what type of assessment Florida will use in the future.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

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