Dear Republican Party Leaders of Florida:
Many of you have given me the honor and pleasure of serving with you for almost 10 years as State Committeewoman. You know I have a sense of humor, but am very serious when it comes to the future of the Sunshine State, our Nation and the Republican Party, so this is for all of you and the ones I haven’t been able to work with or know.
It has come to my attention that the Common Core standards came up as a topic, without discussion, during the conference call last week on Wednesday, and it was stated that those who oppose or have concerns about the standards, their accompanying tests and data-mining system, were “whackos” or “crazies” who need to be handled with special information from the party hierarchy or the Department of Education. Without going into the detail involving the many issues raising concerns from parents, teachers, business leaders, organizations, as well as academic, legal, and privacy experts, let me give a few reasons why, politically, that is not a wise or winning strategy for our state party, the Republican Party of Florida:
1: The Republican National Committee unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the Common Core Standards in April, 2013, including the RPOF’s highly respected members. Do we really think it wise to refer to the entire RNC and our Florida members as “whackos”? Also, I don’t think we should rile or disrespect the largest political organization of women in the nation; The National Federation of Republican Woman came out with their own resolution against the Common Core Standards.
2: The duly elected legislature of Indiana, which consists of wide majorities of Republicans voted for legislation pausing implementation of the standards and tests pending further review and public hearings; Republican governor Mike Pence signed the legislation. Are you calling elected Republicans including a sitting governor crazy? What about the Michigan legislature? Are they whackos for voting to defund the Common Core system pending further review? Or, what about Republican governor Nathan Deal of Georgia or even Democratic governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania, who both took executive action to pause the implementation until there could be more public input?3: Do we really want the RPOF entertaining the attitude that the leaders and researchers of some of the most important and esteemed think tanks and policy organizations in the nation are mentally unsound because they raise questions about such a transformational education model? We are talking about Heritage, Cato, Eagle Forum, the American Principles Project, and Freedom Works, to name just a few. We need to realize that assigning those labels also applies to the members and supporters of those organizations, people who make up the heart of the Republican base. That base did not turn out in adequate numbers in the last election. Displaying such a condescending attitude to them again, will only worsen our chances of winning future elections.
4: While, as with any issue, there may be some so-called fringe elements that oppose Common Core, please remember, many of the supporters of this top-down initiative are some of the most radical leftists and would-be tyrants in our nation’s history. Does the RPOF really want to align themselves with the progressive agenda of President Barak Obama, Arne Duncan, Bill Ayers, and Linda Darling-Hammond by promoting the enlistment of our education system, and using our children as guinea pigs? Should the Republican Party of Florida, of which you are a part, continue to choose to support the intrusive Common Core data-mining collection system, as does the Obama administration, to be used on our children (And teachers) from “cradle to career?” This data will be made available to various federal government agencies, corporations, and outside researchers, soon making the NSA scandal look like a walk in the park.
5: Finally, please understand that the largest part of the growing tsunami of opposition to the Common Core system is composed of suburban moms who are learning what this is doing or will do to their children. This important block of swing voters is not amused and they will take out their ‘mama bear’ fury on those politicians of either party they see as trying to impose this boondoggle on their children. Instead of trying to portray them as nut jobs, it would behoove elected officials and the Republican Party, along with all of their appointees, to respect and address their grievances.
It has also come to my attention that the foundations started by Governor Jeb Bush, are involved in contacting, even pressuring, Republican Executive Committee (REC) chairmen to oppose/squash/suppress any anti-Common Core resolutions brought to the RECs from their membership. This is unfortunate and quite disturbing for all of the reasons I have afore mentioned, plus the following four reasons:
1: If the governor, as a Republican, believes in constitutionally limited government and local control, and the materials put out by his foundation say, “State leaders, accountable to their constituents, can withdraw their states from the standards at any time,” why are he and his organizations continuing to badger and interfere with the decisions of our Republican Executive Committees and our legislators, who wish to express their opposition to such a life-altering, astronomically costly, untested educational system?
2: Governor Bush had the full support of this county and mine as our governor, and I believe he is not a whacko or crazy for supporting this liberal agenda – just misled, in my humble opinion. The Common Core talking points are full of holes and misstatements. His efforts have been unsuccessful in the afore mentioned states. The people have spoken to their elected leaders and they are sending an entirely different message than that of the governor.
3: Some of the governor’s efforts in this area must be viewed at least somewhat skeptically, given the very large donations that his foundations received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose Microsoft Corporation stands to reap billions from Common Core related testing, plus mandated educational and data-mining software. In fact, 26 of the 32 groups that opposed the Indiana legislation to pause Common Core, as well as the Bush foundations, received contributions from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Haven’t I heard many of you say, “Follow the money?”
4: Judging from the curriculum driven by Common Core Standards, (Which replaces the Sunshine State Standards) it could change the political view of Florida and the nation to a conditioned hard-left agenda, over the course of just one or two short generations. We will have produced a populace of voters who will probably have a hard time voting for Republicans or any conservatives.
The Florida State Board of Education (FLSBOE) signed the Common Core State Standards Initiative contract and took the stimulus money on behalf of the state of Florida, in 2010, for this vast, untested program. The appointed FLSBOE acted on our behalf with no public input, no discussion and no legislation. Our Florida legislators, however, are able to oust Common Core during the upcoming session with encouragement, facts and support.
Common Core is a potent issue, which, down the road, the Republican Party may very well regret having been responsible for its promotion and allowing its implementation. For the good of the Sunshine State and for the good of the Republican Party, please urge the allowance of our constitutional right of “Redress of grievance.” Please encourage the reconsideration of the tone and approach being portrayed by the party, elected Republican officials and both their appointees against its well informed voting members, constituents and citizens at large.
Thank you for your consideration.
Best Wishes,Marguerite Cavanaugh
Former Marion County State Committeewoman
P. S. I am sure you have already, or will form a strong opinion about this issue. Please continue to do your own research, if need be, and let me know if you want to join the grassroots effort to rid Florida of Common Core. Our numbers are growing and we will stand behind all legislators who work to get the Sunshine State out of Common Core.