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Opposition To Florida Education Standards Growing As Lawmakers Return To Capitol

LaCrai Mitchell
StateImpact Florida

The last time lawmakers all gathered in Tallahassee, the opposition to Florida's new math and English standards was just getting started.

But opponents of the standards, known as Common Core, have turned up the heat throughout the spring and summer. The opposition hails from the political right and the political left, and their concerns range from whether local school districts and the state are ceding control over education, the quality of the standards and the amount of testing associated with Common Core.

That's what lawmakers face as the return to Tallahassee next week for the first week of committee meetings to prepare for the 2014 legislative session.

Florida is in the midst of transitioning to the new standards, which outline what students should know at the end of each grade. The standards are scheduled to be used in every grade by the time classes start next fall.

Indian River Rep. Debbie Mayfield has filed a bill which would put implementation of the standards on hold -- and other bills are expected. House Speaker Will Weatherford said some of the concerns are legitimate, and expects lawmakers will spend "a lot" of time discussing Common Core.

"It’s a lot more complicated than I think people think," Weatherford said of repealing Common Core. "There’s massive fiscal impacts associated with that.

"But there are some very healthy and legitimate concerns that people have, with regard to the database of our students’ information, with regard to not having a national curriculum. I don’t want a national curriculum. I know the governor doesn’t either."

StateImpact Florida's John O'Connor spoke with WUSF's Craig Kopp about the debate over Common Core as lawmakers return to the capital. Click the story above to listen.

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