Janet Adkins: politician or educator? You decide. — An Opinion

FOpinions_Wordpress-300x151Submitted by Linda Morris

Retired Nassau County educator


In her zeal for conducting a negative campaign in which promises and accusations are based upon half- truths, innuendo, outright falsehoods, and blatant misrepresentations, Janet Adkins has failed to realize that many voters are looking clearly through her transparent persona and are seeing a character that is questionable for consideration in leading the Nassau County School District.

I choose to bring to full disclosure an issue that is being touted as one of Mrs. Adkins’ campaign promises. She promises to “get rid of” or “stop” the Common Core Standards.

Make no mistake about the truth. Representative Adkins was a supporter of the Common Core Standards while a seated member of the House. She hosted a local education summit with invited speakers including Florida Department of Education Top Leadership, Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Schools, and Mrs. Adkins. Each individual touted the positive attributes of the standards and the need for uniformity.   Does this seem transparent as to Adkins’ campaign promise? Coincidently, current Superintendent John Ruis was not on the platform as an invited guest.

Do you want a person with this seasoned character to lead our schools? You decide.

For months leading up to the 2014 legislative session parents and educators criticized the state’s school grading formula as being too complex and that the standards had undergone several alterations.

Adkins is quoted from a Monday, March 24th, 2014, Florida House Committee meeting as stating “We have been teaching these (Common Core) standards in Florida schools since 2010.” Her position was at that time that since districts had been implementing the standards since 2010, why was there an issue with holding our teachers and schools accountable. Her statement was not the full truth. The standards were adopted in 2010 with a phase in plan to begin with Kindergarten. A full implementation plan was not published by the Department of Education until spring of 2011. When questioned about Adkins’ error in her statement, her spokeswoman admitted Adkins was wrong in her assertion. Coincidently, Adkins took direct aim at public schools in stating “we have to hold schools accountable for the money we sent them.” Only 18 days after that statement, Adkins voted in favor for a voucher expansion program. Why is this important? Private schools who accept voucher money do not have to take the same tests based upon the Florida State Standards as other public institutions. So much for holding schools accountable for the money we send them. Again, this is not surprising for a career politician.

Do you want a politician leading your school system? You decide.

At a February 18, 2014 Florida Department of Education meeting and Jeb Bush’s newest organization Meet Our Teachers, Stacy Clarke of Florida Parents Rise reported “It’s clear the supporters of Common Core are getting worried as opposition is growing like wild fire. Speaking of tempers flaring, Janet Adkins’ recent ‘bossy’ attitude at a school board meeting is a perfect example of just how worried they are. Adkins insistence upon her own talking points in the face of the obvious serves as the latest example of the zealotry among the Republican House caucus to advance Jeb Bush’s agenda.”

Do you want a politician leading your school system? You decide.

As chair of the K-12 House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Adkins made her position transparent regarding the Common Core Standards. At a February, 2014 meeting, Adkins led the committee to vote on a committee bill that would strike approximately three dozen references to Common Core in state statute and would change the name to Florida’s Standards. As reported by the Florida Stop Common Core Coalition, “Chairwoman Adkins then proceeded to try to shirk the responsibility of the elected legislators to their constituents to manage the funds and oversee the policy of the Department of Education. She had the temerity to say that it was only the appointed State Board of Education’s responsibility to set the standards and that the committee has no role in the standards policy. It was shocking to hear an elected official so totally abdicate her and the committee’s role to appointed bureaucrats in the state and federal government.

Do you want a duck-and-run type character leading your school system? You decide.

It is my opinion that as long as we have statutes, crafted by politicians, that require such tasks such as teacher pay based upon student performance, school grades based upon student performance, required courses of study, graduation requirements, and grade progression requirements that a common set of core standards and an assessment based upon those standards are necessary. I promise you every teacher I know will teach the curriculum upon which their student performance is based. Unless the Florida Statutes are changed, that is now the Florida State Standards.   Each local district cannot develop their own curriculum as this would result in gross inequity amongst districts and ultimately be a disservice to our students. I propose that reasonable heads prevail, educators tackle the contents of the standards and make educational decisions based upon a community culture and through collaboration arrive at a common ground.

Do you want a politician leading that discussion? You decide.

I ask you to inform yourself as to the actual contents of the Florida Standards.


Click on any item in blue menu bar.  Are you sure there is substantial content that warrants complete deviation from them?

IMG_0175Linda Morris has 41 years of experience in education.  She Came to Nassau County in 1982 with ten years experience in elementary and middle school.  She has taught at Callahan Junior (Middle), served as Assistant Principal at Callahan Junior (Middle), Principal at Fernandina Beach Junior (Middle), Principal at Hilliard Elementary, and Director of Elementary Education (2002-2013).  She holds BS, MED,  and EDS degrees from Middle Tennessee State University.


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