Governor Bill Haslam held his first of six TNReady listening meetings in Knoxville last week. While the tour was initially billed as an open discussion of challenges and ways to improve the state test, the timing of the event and an approved guest list raised questions about the event.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports Haslam saying he did not intend to keep anyone out of the meeting, despite holding it at 3:00 PM when most teachers in Knox County are still required to be at work.
Knox County School Board Chair Patty Bounds noted:
“I was like, I can’t even imagine what they’re thinking or if they’re that out of touch,” Bounds said. “(Because of their) contract teachers can’t leave their building until 3:15 and for middle and high school, it’s later than that.”
Bounds questioned how the state could rationalize hand-picking the teachers allowed in the meeting Friday if they wanted a true listening tour.
The Directors of Schools in Nashville and Memphis have indicated support for pausing TNReady while the state transitions to a new Governor. This would allow the new Commissioner of Education time to digest feedback and work with a testing vendor to improve delivery.
In a similar vein, the Director of Schools in Maury County has suggested moving to the ACT suite of assessments and Wilson County is said to be exploring legislative options to move beyond the state-mandated test.
Despite criticism over the timing and invitation list for his first listening tour stop, Haslam’s second stop will be at Soddy-Daisy High School in Hamilton County on Tuesday, August 28th at 3:30 PM.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport