Lee County's refusal of Common Core leaves unanswered questions

Consequences of decision are unknown

Lee County Schools made history when it became the first district in Florida to opt out of all statewide Common Core standardized tests. 
 
The school board voted 3-2 to do away with the tests. 
 
But the meeting ended without addressing what test – if any – will now be used in place of the state tests. 
 
Officials hope their move inspires other districts to say no.  
 
The decision has some questioning if Lee County’s decision is even legal and if it will end up hurting our kids. 
 
“We don't have standardized children, we don't have standardized tests,” said one Lee County parent.  
 
Another parent said, “They can make their own decisions now. They have been taught to think not to just go along.”
 
The board’s attorney spelled out some repercussions of how students might suffer: Third graders could be held back, seniors might not graduate and state funding could cease. 
 
Diane Rottensteiner, the executive director at Huntington Learning Center, is seeing parents panic, but she says districts can still teach the way they want. 
 
“The counties do have the right to choose the curriculum and how the Common Core standards are taught. It's my understanding they don't have the choice to accept the Common Core,” Rottensteiner said.
 
And accepting the standardized testing, she said, is key for Florida’s children to stay competitive internationally. 
 
“What Common Core is going to do is take students to the next level. So instead of just memorizing information or regurgitating facts they just learned, they are going to be questioned,” said Rottensteiner.
 
Like it or not, Gov. Rick Scott could make moves on what else happens in Lee County. He released this statement:
 
“We are absolutely against federal overreach into our school system and I understand the frustrations of parents in Lee County. Education is best run at the state and local level. That is why we signed a law against national curriculum, got out of PARCC, and created Florida Standards instead of Common Core. We need to get more information, but Lee County’s actions could have serious negative consequences that I am sure they did not intend.”
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