Momentum to Cast Off Common Core Growing

Tennessee’s Republican House leadership appears united behind the notion that time has come for Common Core to go.

“I think Common Core will be repealed in the next session, and I think the state absolutely must do its own standards, and make those standards tough and real,” Majority Leader Gerald McCormick of Chattanooga told TNReport on Monday.

McCormick added that he believes the national standards — created in part by the National Governor’s Association and backed by the Obama administration and Microsoft founder Bill Gates — has “become more of a distraction” than anything else.

Calling the controversial interstate math-and-English standards system “a discredited idea at this point,” McCormick said, “The well has been poisoned on Common Core.”

It is time to “get rid of it and start over again,” he said.

McCormick favors scrapping Common Core in favor of a homegrown system — a view that looks to be shared by republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, who recently told the nonprofit education-focused news site Chalkbeat that she thinks the Volunteer State is fast approaching the point when the state tackles the task of developing its own standards — with the goal of making them “the best standards in the nation.”

House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada has for some time been an outspoken opponent of Common Core. He made his dislike of the system a key issue in his recent primary battle in Williamson County, in which he promised that doing away with Common Core will be one of his key legislative priorities in 2015.

Opposition to Common Core has continued to intensify across the state, with the most recent Vanderbilt Peabody poll showing a sharp decline in teacher support for the standards. Last session the General Assembly voted to delay implementation of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers assessment — the test most closely associated with the CCSS .

Gov. Bill Haslam, a one-time firm backer of the standards who has touted education reforms pushed by his administration as instrumental in the state’s fast improvement in education, has even acknowledged that the time has come for a full vetting and wide-ranging discussion of the controversial national education standards.

Haslam has said that while he’s willing to talk about issues people are having with Common Core, he’s committed to ensuring the state does not “back up” on “having higher standards.”