Press Release from the Democratic Caucus of the Tennessee House of Representatives, March 18, 2014:
Democrats call for constructive conversation on Common Core and PARCC
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – House Democrats are asking that Governor Haslam and Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman use their whirlwind tour of the state as an opportunity to sit down and talk with all teachers – not just those hand-selected as supporting their position.
“We hope Governor Haslam uses this opportunity to actually speak with teachers, instead of speaking at them,” said House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh. “For too long he and Commissioner Huffman have been ignoring and discounting teachers’ and parents’ concerns about the pace and scope of new education reforms. Instead of attacking lawmakers, parents and teachers, the Haslam administration should bring all sides to the table to constructively address the legitimate concerns about the implementation and roll-out of Common Core and PARCC.”
Last Thursday, 82 out of 99 lawmakers voted for a bill that delays further implementation of new Common Core standards and the PARCC test associated with them. The bill, HB1129, was amended on the floor to address these two issues.
Amendment #5 had the support of 80 members of the House in order to give teachers more time to master the new standards in math and language arts, before putting forward new standards in Science and Social Studies.
Amendment #7 had the support of 88 members of the House. It delays further implementation of new PARCC testing, which has drawn criticism for its high cost and reliance on technology that is not available in many schools. Kentucky, along with many other states, has also withdrawn from PARCC while keeping their commitment to higher standards.
HB1129 has moved on to the Senate where they will vote to adopt or reject the House amendments this Thursday.
“Governor Haslam and Commissioner Huffman have been given an opportunity to repair the damage they have done by ignoring the input of parents and teachers across the state,” said Leader Fitzhugh. “I expect that if the Governor does this, we can achieve real and lasting improvement to our education system in Tennessee.”