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Tracking Down Florida's Status With Common-Core Testing Group

In the aftermath of Florida Gov. Rick Scott's announcement Monday regarding the state's role in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, there's been some confusion about what Florida is actually doing with respect to the multistate consortium developing common-core assessment. So here's the best information I have at the moment.

Gov. Scott said Florida is withdrawing from PARCC. But his letters to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Florida Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand don't explicitly say that—they only say the state will no longer be PARCC's fiscal agent, and that it is seeking competitive bids for a new assessment for the Common Core State Standards. And Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart said Monday that the state is remaining in the PARCC consortium.

So what's the final word? I asked the governor's office for clarification Tuesday and was referred instead to the Florida Department of Education, whose spokesman, Joe Follick, told me this: "We will remain a member of PARCC, in the context of: We have withdrawn as fiscal agent and are seeking all other alternatives to PARCC." 

From PARCC's perspective, if a state is a governing board member of PARCC (as Florida still is) that state is, in fact, committed to using the consortium's test for the 2014-15 school year. But clearly, that's not actually the case as far as Florida is concerned.

What's left unanswered is why Scott said something that contradicts his own education department. As a practical matter, he did make it clear that the relationship between Florida and PARCC from now on will be either much more limited than it used to be, or all but non-existent. But even with that important context, Florida's officials don't appear to be entirely on the same page. 

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