Tennessee Legislature Nears Win On Halting Common Core Testing


Members of Congress in Tennessee may be approaching a compromise deal to delay the incorporation of the Common Core testing component by a year.

Tennessee adopted Common Core in 2010, but the testing component – known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) – was not meant to begin until next school year.

If the deal is reached, the state will continue with its current standardized test, the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP), according to an article written by Daniel Potter for Nashville Public Radio:

Majority Leader Mark Norris thinks there's a consensus: continue Tennessee's current standardized test, known as the TCAP, while shopping for an alternative over the next year.

"I think we all agree that there should be more opportunity to consider alternatives to PARCC, or at least to put PARCC out for bid," Norris said. "There shouldn't be a rush to implementation on that, and I think that's what the consensus will be."

Forty-five US states currently use the Common Core standards. At least 12 of those are currently in situations where political parties or candidates are trying to undo Common Core, with Indiana the first to actually do so; its Common Core act repealed by the state governor in March 2014.

The most frequently-cited criticism of Common Core is that it ‘dumbs down' subject matter to a level that can be understood by the greatest common denominator of students.

Parents and teachers both fear that teaching that level of curriculum will inhibit graduates' ability to be ready for college or the working world.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is an ardent supporter of Common Core, which itself was developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Haslam himself has been under fire of late for reneging on a promised teacher pay raise, according to an article by Andy Sher of the Times Free Press.

Tennessee Education Association President Gera Summerford dropped the hammer on Haslam earlier this month:

"State leaders need to be held accountable for the abysmal job they are doing in taking care of our students and teachers," she said. "The governor's cuts to teacher salaries and higher education continue the state's race to the bottom in education funding."

Haslam defended his record, saying that Tennessee has the fourth-highest education funding increase in the US.

A bill that would uphold a 1-year delay on testing is currently on its way to Governor Haslam's desk to be signed.

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