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The Villages

Stop Common Core Coalition endorses Florida Senate candidate

State Senate District 12 candidate David Gee has received the endorsement from Florida’s Stop Common Core Coalition following the release of their ratings for each candidate in the senate race.

The coalition graded Gee with an “A-” rating after thoroughly researching his stance on Common Core, as well as the positions of his opponents state Rep. Dennis Baxley and state Rep. Marlene O’Toole.

The grades were released in a report that consisted of the researched evidence to support the reasoning for each of the candidates’ received grades.

Although a political outsider, Gee has been vocal in his opposition to the initiative through his website and debates, which has drawn the endorsements of those who are anti-Common Core according to the report.

The longtime businessman was also recognized by the coalition for his proposed efforts to eradicate Common Core in contrast to his opponents.

Baxley received a “D,” a grade that is described in the coalition’s report as “no effort or even statements on the Common Core system or much in education, and or has received pro-Common Core endorsements, and or has sponsored or co-sponsored bad pro-Common core system legislation.”

While Baxley has released campaign flyers that seemingly expressed his involvement to stop federal overreach in areas such as education, the group disproved his claims by indicating his lack of support for anti-Common Core bills.

The coalition also pinned him together with others in legislation for only voting to “remove the name of the standards from statute,” thus keeping the education initiative alive.

O’Toole, chairwoman of the Florida House Education Committee, received an “F” for “blocking” anti-Common Core bills, yet allowing pro-Common Core bills to pass, the report stated. She has also received special acknowledgement in 2015 and 2016 on the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s honor roll, which was founded by former state governor Jeb Bush.

The group also cited a news article, which reported that the Commission on Ethics “found she did not properly disclose financial voting conflicts of interest,” and a video where O’Toole suggested that avoiding the standardized tests “was not an option.”

“This voter guide shows in detail that my opponents have not been telling the truth about their records. Representative Baxley claims to be a fighter, but has been missing-in-action when it comes to defending local control of our education system. Worst yet, Representative Marlene O’Toole has spoken against Common Core while preserving the entirety of the program. O’Toole claims to put service ahead of politics, but she only serves her Pro-Common Core financial backers,” said Gee in a press release.

Gee, Baxley and O’Toole will face off in the upcoming Aug. 30 primary.

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