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PRESS RELEASE 10/16 Open letter to Gov. Scott

Press Release from Bear Witness to Gov. Scott.
Open Letter to the Governor

Dear Governor Scott,

We, the undersigned groups, are aware that you have received a letter from a few groups listing some recommendations for what your campaign might consider to elicit the support of the thousands and thousands of parents and grandparents that are ready to deny your re-election over the Common Core issue. Floridians have come to see the devastating effects of the academically inferior, developmentally inappropriate, and psychologically manipulative Common Core (AKA Florida) Standards and associated tests by the American Institutes for Research on their children and grandchildren. This letter is to further elucidate the key issues, as well as to clarify and expand upon those suggestions.

Here is the current situation:

• Standards authors David Coleman admits he was unqualified and Jason Zimba admits that the standards are inadequate for STEM majors at selective universities, while major proponent and funder Bill Gates admits that the results of the Common Core scheme will not be known for ten years.
• The offices of pediatricians and psychologists are overflowing with students that are showing physical and emotional symptoms of profound anxiety and depression because these standards and tests are so developmentally inappropriate, destroying the joy of learning and being tantamount to cognitive child abuse.
• The US Department of Education, The National Association of State Boards of Education, and many other groups and individuals admit that one of the primary purposes of the standards and tests is to psychologically train and profile our children.
• Floridians are furious at being told that Common Core is gone from Florida when only 0.9% of the standards were changed and given a different name, while Commissioner Stewart, Speaker Weatherford, Jeb Bush, and others have all admitted that the changes were insubstantial and or that that was the plan all along. The facts that neither Jeb Bush nor the US Department of Education made any comment or complaint about the state's change to the "Florida Standards" also confirms that there was no real change from Common Core.
• Switching from the PARCC test to the AIR test did not provide significant relief from federal overreach as AIR is developing the computer adaptive testing for SBAC, the other federal testing consortium. In addition, there are serious concerns about our state paying an extra $5 million to field test questions in Utah; their admission to a major behavioral emphasis in testing & research, not academics, including the "social genome project," psychosocial education, social justice, School-to-Work, and GLBT issues; and their involvement in data mining individual Florida students & teachers.
• Parents will also be upset when they find out that the much touted data protection bill only solves collection of 3 out of 400 invasive data points or that their supposed freedom to control curriculum in their districts is non-existent, because curriculum is required to align with Common Core.
• Parents and teachers across the state and nation are stoking grassfires of rebellion to the academically unhelpful, excessive, invasive and expensive high stakes tests that are robbing 40-50% of learning time.
• The conservative grassroots of the Republican Party of Florida is increasingly tired of being ignored, minimized, and dismissed despite many Republican Executive Committees, two committees within the RPOF, the Legislative Affairs Committee as well as many national Republican organizations passing unanimous or near unanimous resolutions against Common Core. This is evidenced by low volunteer turnout.
• The anger and frustration about these facts is evident in polling data showing that two unknown and underfunded candidates received almost twice as many votes as your margin of victory in the 2010 election with full Tea Party support; that despite the $44 million dollars that your campaign has spent on ads against your opponent, you are still slightly behind; and that both you and Charlie Crist are receiving low marks for honesty.
Quite frankly, given the dire consequences to our children and our nation's future of continuing with these horrific standards, tests and data collection system, we believe that the time for "review committees," "discussions," "statements," etc. is long over. Here is a review of the exit strategy that your campaign team has already been given with one or two other ideas for real action BEFORE the election to show people you mean what you say:

1) Sign an executive order pulling Florida out of the Common Core standards and write a letter to Secretary Duncan notifying him of the same.
2) Cancel the contract with AIR due to the many problems described above.
3) Pledge to sign a bill in the 2015 legislative session that removes Florida from the unconstitutional federal mandates of No Child Left Behind, therefore allowing standards and testing decisions to be made at least at the state level in accordance with the Tenth Amendment or ideally at the local level to comply with the Florida Constitution as well (Article IX, Section 4b).
4) Instruct the Florida Board of Education that there shall be no penalties imposed on employees or districts if parents take advantage of the legal right to opt students out of standardized Common Core/Florida Standards tests.
5) Instruct the state Board of Education to immediately produce and disseminate widely an informative piece which provides parents with information regarding their legal rights to opt out of standardized Common Core/Florida Standards testing and data collection.

Many of the members of these groups want to vote for you because of your wonderful on many other issues. However, If Common Core is not stopped, all of your other excellent work on these other issues will be for naught because in not too many years, our children will not understand our heritage of freedom and how to defend the Constitution or free markets. Their lives and futures are too important to compromise.

Thank you for your consideration. Best wishes as the campaign concludes.

The Florida Stop Common Core Coalition
This is an organization of over 50 member state and national groups that include:
• Bear Witness Central
• Florida Eagle Forum
• The Tea Party Network - a statewide organization of dozens of Tea Party and patriot groups across Florida
• FreedomWorks
• Heritage Action for America
American Hispanic Coalition
First Coast Tea Party
Florida Citizens Alliance - another statewide multi-group coalition
Florida Parents RISE
The Leaderboard Roundtable
Miami Tea Party USA

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