That seems to be the message Tennessee leaders are sending about the controversial Common Core State Standards.
After a legislative session which saw the House of Representatives strongly denounce Common Core and ultimately the entire General Assembly vote to delay the PARCC tests, Governor Haslam convened an Education Summit to “reset the conversation” around education policy in the state.
In Williamson County, Americans for Prosperity spent tens of thousands of dollars on School Board races to elect new members who oppose the Common Core State Standards.
Just this weekend, Scott Stroud of the Tennessean wrote:
If Common Core education standards come crashing to earth next year when the legislature reconvenes — and it looks as though they might — Gov. Bill Haslam will need to look no further than his campaign for re-election to figure out when he lost that fight.
Haslam appears now to be shifting to a conversation of why higher standards matter rather than advocating in favor of the Common Core.
And, Speaker Beth Harwell is joining him. In an interview with Chalkbeat, Harwell said:
I really think Tennessee is going to get to the point where they’ll just develop their own standards and try to make them some of the best standards in the nation.
So, it seems likely that Tennessee will shift away from Common Core. But will Tennessee policymakers use the Common Core as a guideline for new standards? And how will development of Tennessee’s own standards impact the already-issued RFP for tests aligned to the Common Core in math and reading? Will there be yet another delay in the use of assessments aligned to Tennessee standards? Will teachers be sent yet another set of standards to teach students? And how will these new standards be developed?
The shift away from the CCSS may be politically expedient, but it leaves many questions unanswered. It also presents an opportunity: To reset the conversation by involving teachers, parents, and communities in a discussion about what’s best for Tennessee. That conversation was missing in the initial build-up to Common Core in Tennessee and it is likely among the reasons why the standards are facing challenging times now.
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