GOP Lawmakers Unite to Fight Common Core in Tennessee
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.
“Let’s look at what we’re getting and compare it to what we have and make ours better by using Tennessee educators.”
School districts in Tennessee are implementing new criteria that establish what students will be taught in reading and math for the 2014-15 school year, as well as the new PARCC test that will replace the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program.
Tennessee is one of 45 states that have adopted Common Core standards, having voted to do so four years ago. Several states, however, have tweaked plans in recent months as Common Core comes under assault from conservatives who liken the standards to a “federal takeover” of education as well as liberals who bemoan its high-stakes testing and new demands placed on teachers.
In Indiana, where a governor who was an early supporter of Common Core is now a critic, the state now appears ready to rewrite its own standards. South Carolina is also exploring scrapping Common Core. Other battles are playing out in Louisiana, New York and elsewhere.