My Time at the State Capitol

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the halls of Legislative Plaza at the State Capitol. I also visited the capitol a few weeks ago with members of the Tennessee Reading Association’s Advocacy Committee. Unlike some, I highly enjoy my time on the hill. Here are a few of my takeaways.

There were a lot more people in the education committees then there were in 2012 when I last worked on the hill. As many already know, more and more people are concerned about education in Tennessee. That means there are more advocates and stakeholders when it comes to education. While many people crammed into education committee rooms, other committees sat almost empty. This really shows you how important education is in Tennessee. A lot of time, energy, and lobbying are taking place in the education world.

I spoke to numerous people about Dr. Candice McQueen, the newly appointed Commissioner of Education. Everyone I spoke with only had praise for Dr. McQueen. With Commissioner McQueen at the helm of the department, I believe these next four years will be systematically different than the last four years. Commissioner McQueen was already highly revered in the education world before she became Commissioner, and I believe she will leave the Department of Education in an even higher regard. From the looks of social media, Commissioner McQueen is traveling around the state at every chance she gets. I like that.

With the Tennessee Reading Association, we visited with the education committee chairs. Each chair, Representative John Fogerty, Representative Harry Brooks, and Senator Dolores Gresham, were very receptive on our message of staying on course to retain high standards. While we were advocating for Common Core, we understood that the standards would most likely change names. I think everyone agrees that Common Core will go away, but with a high quality Tennessee State Standards left in Common Core’s place. Too much money has been spent on teacher training to just get rid of the standards all together.

Legislators are already reviewing comments that stakeholders are making through the Tennessee Education Standards Review. I hope that everyone will go online and take part in this review process. They need to hear from teachers!

If you don’t know who your legislators are, go to this site to find out. It’s important that you know who represents you at the state capitol. When contacting your member, tell your legislator that you are a constituent and a teacher.

For more on education politics and policy, follow @TNEdReport.


7 thoughts on “My Time at the State Capitol

  1. More propaganda. What Tennessee will end up with is a rebranding of Common Core. What the author of this article fails to realize is our Governor sold our children’s soul when he agreed to take a NCLB Waiver which requires the state to implement “college and career ready” standards. The new standards must be approved by the US Dept. of Education. Now how does that equate to state control over education? It does not. And if the state’s new standards do not align with Common Core they will be rejected. It puts our waiver and millions of dollars of federal funding at jeopardy. So what will happen is the new standards will be aligned with Common Core because our legislators are addicted to the money from the federal government like a drug addict is addicted to heroin. The review process has about 2100 individual standards. Do you really think parents and everyday citizens are going to sit down and pull up 2100 standards 1 standard at a time and input feedback? Do you think they are even qualified to evaluate the quality of a standard? No they are not as many members of the review team are not qualified. What the state of TN needs to do is bring in REAL standard EXPERTS, child development experts and sit down and create new standards and that could be done in a matter of weeks not 2 years. This review system for the public is nothing more than a feel good exercise. Again, REAL quality standard writing experts are few and far between but they do exist. We are fortunate to have one such math expert here in Tennessee but her repeated attempts to work and help the state Dept of Ed have been ignored. They are only interested in feel good exercises while all the while they already know exactly what the new standards will be. It is called the Delphi Technique. Make people believe the predetermined outcome was their idea. This can be proven by the fact that the assessment company hired by Tennessee recently (Measurement Inc) contracted with AIR/Smarter Balance (AIR is heavily funded by Bill Gates and federal government)and AIR signed a 3-year lease agreement with Utah to lease their Common Core aligned assessment questions for Tennessee at $2.34 million per year for 3 years. Now that tells you they just put the horse before the cart. Leasing assessment questions for standards that are SUPPOSEDLY not even written??? So the standard are either already written or they will be written to align with the assessment questions purchased by AIR for TN. Smoke and mirrors people and at the end of the day our children will be nothing more than human capital for the global workforce trained to fill the needs of the corporate elites. And just in case you think this is just an America education reform please think again. This is a global effort to fill the workforce needs of corporations. Why do you think the Chamber of Commerce and other big business (including Bill Gates and Microsoft) are in support of this agenda? It is not because they are concerned about our children it is because they want to make sure our children are TRAINED to fill THEIR workforce needs in the future. Pearson is currently rewriting the internation test (PISA) to align with Common Core and it is planned to roll out in 2018……….so do you still think this is an American agenda??? This beast feeds on our children. It needs our children to survive. The only solution left is to get up off of knees and stop depending on our elected officials to save our children. Parents have the power to kill this beast once and for all. Take from the beast what it needs to survive. STARVE THE BEAST or someday you will be very sorry you did not step up and do you job as a parent. The job of educating and protecting your children is YOUR job not the job of the government or the school. The has come. Get up off your knees and STAVE THE BEAST!!

    • Sorry for a few typos…..tough to type on a cell phone. The PISA is an international test. And STARVE THE BEAST means get your children out of the system. Home school or Christian Classical private schools are your only safe options right now. But make sure the programs or private school you choose are not Common Core aligned. Some of them are. I recommend for home school (if you want a computer based program) but there are many free options and many options that parents find successful for home school. But the odds are stacked against us. Many parents are making life changing decisions so they can STARVE THE BEAST and they are finding life is simpler, happier, less stressful and they actually find they enjoy being with their children and the children are closer than ever to their parents. Children need love and their parents. With those two things they will flourish and be successful at whatever they do.

  2. McQueen is just another Haslam appointee and will toe the company line. .. and if you think Gresham is “receptive” to anything that will improve the lives of public school classroom teachers, then you need to think again!!!

  3. Karen, we already have standards experts; they are called Tennessee teachers. Most will attest that the standards aren’t the problem. Ensuring that the assessment is aligned with the standards is more pertinent than the standards themselves. I am a career teacher, principal, and now district-level supervisor. Educators who have no governmental experience shouldn’t try to legislate policy. Likewise, Legislators who have no public educational experience need to
    Let those of us who are in the trenches make the decisions that affect our precious students.

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