Friday, August 30, 2013
Some invitees to Governor Rick Scott’s Education Accountability Summit are annoyed that he skipped this week’s three-day conference in Clearwater, opting to discuss Florida’s educational future in a closed-door meeting on Thursday with GOP advisors in Miami. Gov. Scott’s office said today that he had “a very productive conversation about education in Florida" with former Gov. Jeb Bush, state Sen. John Thrasher, and state Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand. Given recent controversy over the state’s adoption of Common Core and the resignation of education chairman Tony Bennett earlier this month, Gov. Scott’s decision to not attend his own summit seems curious. Rita Solnet, founder of the advocacy group Parents Across America told the Miami Herald that she believed the summit was a façade. Solnet said, “This is how education reform gets done in Florida. The real decisions have always been made by Jeb Bush." The summit’s attendees discussed ways to make the Common Core standards more appealing for Floridians, including deflecting criticism by renaming the test. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Gary Chartrand suggested substituting the Common Core’s reading lists with materials "align with Florida's values and culture," saying that the lists may be upsetting to parents because they mention topics such as socialism or homosexuality.