Familiar Story in Tennessee: Gov, Ed Boss Want Common Core – GOP Legislators, Not So Much

Looks like a familiar story is unfolding in another republican dominated state. Joey Garrison reports in The Tennessean:

Republican lawmakers are putting the final touches on legislation that would delay the implementation of Common Core education standards and the companion test in Tennessee, perhaps setting the stage for the type of fight playing out in statehouses across the country.

Around a dozen House Republicans, according to Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, are united behind a bill to take a pause from the controversial curriculum — for up to three or four years — and separate legislation to delay administering its corresponding test, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

With a Common Core showdown brewing for months, he said, lawmakers have sought collaboration to prevent duplicating legislative efforts.

“Bottom line is, yes, we’re looking at legislation that will put a pause on Common Core and put a pause on the PARCC testing until we can sit down and really take a look at this and see what’s going on with it,” said Womick, who is helping lead the push.

But like Florida, Tennessee’s governor and education commissioner are on the other side and want Common Core.

Unrest from the right on Common Core figures to be a major political test for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, who remain staunch supporters of the standards despite the barrage of Common Core criticism nationally.

“We’re in the third year of Common Core implementation, and PARCC was developed with input from Tennessee,” Haslam spokesman Dave Smith said in a prepared statement when asked about a possible delay. “The governor believes Common Core is critical to the progress the state has made, and he’s committed to making sure we continue that momentum.”

The governor’s allies on Common Core include business-minded Republicans and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, which last week announced the creation of a coalition of businesses that will work to “stay the course on education.” Common Core’s leading advocacy group in Tennessee is the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Huffman’s support is predictable. A former TFA teacher and ex-husband of Michelle Rhee, he’s also one of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change. Core is a part of their agenda to permanently control education. Governor Haslam’s support mirrors that of Florida Governor Rick Scott who knows his bread is buttered by the Chamber of Commerce. No longer representative of small businesses, the Chamber is attempting to protect the substantial financial investment that big corporations have made in Core and to maintain education as a profitable market.

Oh, and they have donated heavily to Scott’s reelection, too.





About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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