Categories
Press Releases

Gresham Announces Dates for Senate Hearings on Common Core Standards

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; September 11, 2013:

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) – Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) today released information regarding the fact finding meeting on the state’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS), pledging a full and fair review. The Senate hearings will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 19 and at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, September 20 in Room 12 of the Legislative Plaza in Nashville.

  • Thursday’s meeting will be include a full review of CCSS details
  • Friday’s meeting will include testimony on CCSS

“Our guiding principle throughout these hearings must be our students and what is best for their future,” added Gresham. “That is why it is so important that we let the facts guide us as we take a thorough look through a full and fair review.”

“There have been many legitimate concerns expressed about the Common Core Standards from both ends of the political spectrum, from parents, teachers and other concerned citizens” said Senator Gresham. “This forum provides us with the opportunity to air these concerns, review the facts and offer recommendations for changes as we move closer to the start of the 2014 legislative session.”

Categories
Press Releases

TN Senate Education Comittee to Review Common Core Standards

Press release from the Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus; July 31, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -– Senate Education Committee Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) has set meeting dates of September 19th and 20th for Committee members to review facts regarding the state’s Common Core Standards.  Gresham announced last month that the Committee will hear testimony from critics and proponents of the standards, as well as state education officials.

The meeting, which had tentatively been planned for an earlier date, was moved to the September date due to scheduling conflicts.

The hearings will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursday, September 19, 2013 in Room 12 of the Legislative Plaza in Nashville. The hearings will continue on September 20 at 9:00 am at the same location.

Categories
Education Featured NewsTracker

Haslam Defends Common Core

With pressure from some Tennessee conservatives mounting against Common Core school standards, Gov. Bill Haslam says he is standing strong in his decision to implement them in the state.

During a press conference Tuesday, Haslam told reporters that he believes joining 44 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting the federal classroom benchmarks will help Tennessee stay economically competitive.

“I feel strongly in this sense: Common Core is about raising the standards and defining the standards so that everybody knows what a third grader should be able to do in math or an eighth grader,” said the Republican governor.

“The most common thing I hear — I’ve talked to five different businesses, literally, in the last week and every one of the them is saying the same thing: ‘We love being here but the prepared workforce that we need is lacking,” Haslam continued. “And that doesn’t just start when you get out of school, it obviously starts earlier and I think part of that is we make certain our third graders are learning the math they need to so that ten years from now these companies aren’t saying ‘we don’t have the workforce that we need.’”

But the new standards, which include various grade-level expectations in math and English, have drawn fierce opposition from some parents and conservative activists in the state. And some high-visibility Republican politicians are increasingly turning their backs on the proposed changes.

Last week, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais from Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District voiced full-throated disapproval of Common Core implementation. A press release from DesJarlais’s office called the standards “watered down” and “bad policy, implemented unfairly, that achieves mediocrity at the expense of states’ sovereignty and local control.”

There have also been murmurings of disapproval amongst conservative legislators on the state level, too.

Reached by phone Tuesday, state House GOP Caucus Chair Glen Casada told TNReport that many of his members have expressed concern and have “a lot of questions.”

The Franklin lawmaker said it’s too early to comment on specific measures the General Assembly might take next year, but indicated he’s looking for the Haslam administration to provide empirical data that Common Core standards will be beneficial for students and not “just another fad that’s come down the pike.”

Concerns and questions aside, the governor appears to be moving forward with the implementations process. According to a Department of Education press release from June 18, the administration is launching a large-scale, voluntary teacher training program on the new standards and over 32,000 state teachers have signed up.

The release quotes Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, a Haslam appointee, saying, “The scale of this training marks an unprecedented commitment to equip students with the critical thinking skills necessary to compete. We are dedicated to giving our teachers the support they need to drive toward excellence during this transition.”

Categories
Press Releases

TN to Train 32K Teachers in Implementing Common Core Standards

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Education; June 18, 2013:

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Education this morning launched the state’s largest ever teacher training focused on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in math and English.

More than 32,000 Tennessee teachers have signed up for this voluntary training held in 17 different locations over the course of six weeks. Math training will occur in June, and English language arts and literacy training will take place during three weeks in July.

The department launched its first wide-scale Common Core training last summer when 13,000 teachers from across the state convened to examine the shifts in math standards, and this year’s efforts reflect the department’s relentless commitment to support teachers as they transition to the Common Core State Standards.

“The scale of this training marks an unprecedented commitment to equip students with the critical thinking skills necessary to compete,” Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “We are dedicated to giving our teachers the support they need to drive toward excellence during this transition.”

More than 1,200 teachers applied to act as Core Coaches during this summer training, and 700 were ultimately appointed by the department to guide their peers as they learn more about the standards.

“Our Core Coaches are buzzing with excitement about facilitating this discussion on implementation,” said Emily Barton, the department’s assistant commissioner of curriculum and instruction. “They have been working all spring to deeply understand what these standards mean. They are ready to share these lessons with their peers as we work to help all students reach high expectations.”

Tennessee is among a group of 45 states and the District of Columbia that have adopted the Common Core State Standards as a way to set clear expectations for what students should learn in school, and align their education with necessary knowledge for college and careers. The Common Core State Standards drive teachers to focus on much fewer standards, which require deeper engagement in fundamental concepts.

For more information on the Common Core State Standards in Tennessee, visit www.TNCore.org or www.ExpectMoreTN.org.

Categories
Press Releases

State’s ‘Common Core’ Curriculum Available for Public Review

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Education; September 17, 2012: 

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Education’s proposed reading textbooks for kindergarten through eighth grade are on display for public review at sites across the state.

As a part of Tennessee’s transition to the Common Core State Standards, the new books better align with focus standards in reading and language arts for each grade level.

According to Common Core guidelines, the materials include literary and informational content designed to allow students to go in-depth into each text by re-reading, discussing and writing about what they’ve read.

The department invites feedback from citizens before the books are ultimately reviewed by a textbook committee and voted on by the State Board of Education later this fall. If adopted, students could begin using the new books in 2013-14.

Morgan Branch, director of textbook services, encouraged parents, family members, educators and the general public to visit the textbook sites and to participate in the review process.

“It is very important for the public to have access to the textbooks under consideration,” Branch said. “Our goal is to provide a wide variety of materials that enrich and support the curriculum and to address the varied interests, abilities and learning styles of students.”

The proposed textbooks are on display in 10 sites, and interested citizens should contact the director of the collection site in their area. Input forms, available at each site, are due by Sept. 30. Sites and directors are listed below.

A state review committee of public school teachers will assist the Tennessee Textbook Commission members with their evaluation of the textbooks. The committee will hold a workshop for textbook publishers to respond to the reviews of their books and answer questions. In October, textbook commission members will vote on the new editions to recommend to the state board for the 2013 official list of textbooks.

Board members will decide whether to add the books to its list, and local school systems can then adopt textbooks from the list for a six-year period.

Public comments regarding the proposed textbooks should be sent by Sept. 30 to:

Morgan Branch, Director of Textbook Services
Tennessee Department of Education
Andrew Johnson Tower – 5th Floor
710 James Robertson Pkwy.
Nashville, TN 37243-0379

Citizens with questions about the process may also call Morgan Branch at (615) 253-3160.

More information about Common Core and the selection of Common Core-focused reading textbooks can be found at TNcore.org.

Media may contact Kelli Gauthier at Kelli.Gauthier@tn.gov with questions.

 

Textbook Review Sites

OFFICIAL SAMPLE SITE
MID-CUMBERLAND DISTRICT
Official Sample Collection, All Materials Bid, Including Priced and Free Materials 

Commissioner Kevin Huffman / ATTN: Kim Ralston
Curriculum Library, Box 13
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
(615) 898-2543
Email: Kim.Ralston@mtsu.edu
FIRST TENNESSEE DISTRICT
Student Text and Teacher’s Edition Only

Malenia Truelove
Sherrod Library, Acquisitions Department.
East Tennessee State University
Wars-Pickel Hall, War-Pickel Drive
P. O. Box 70684
Johnson City, TN 37614-1701
(423) 439-5815
Email: Truelove@etsu.edu
NORTHWEST TENNESSEE DISTRICT
Student Text, Teacher’s Edition and Ancillaries Bid For Contract

Cindy Gaylord
University of Tennessee
Paul Meek Library
10 Wayne Fisher Drive
Martin, TN.   38238
(731) 881-7078
Email: cgaylord@utm.edu
EAST TENNESSEE DISTRICT
Student Text, Teacher’s Edition and Ancillaries Bid For Contract

Bonnie Maples
Technology Enhanced Curriculum Laboratory
University of Tennessee
A401 Bailey Education Complex
Knoxville, TN 37996-3440
(865) 874-8143
Email: bmaples@utk.edu
UPPER CUMBERLAND DISTRICT
Student Text, Teacher’s Edition and Ancillaries Bid For Contract

Carl Owens
Learning Resources Center
Tennessee Tech University
Bartoo Hall, Room 204
Cookeville, TN 38505
(931) 372-3851
Email: cowens@tntech.edu
MID-CUMBERLAND DISTRICT
Student Text, Teacher’s Edition and Ancillaries Bid For Contract

Katie Richie
Learning Resource Center
Austin Peay State University
681 Summer Street
Clarksville, TN 37040
(931)-221-7582
Email: richiek@apsu.edu
MID-CUMBERLAND DISTRICT
Student Text and Teacher’s Edition Only

Debra Jackson
Tennessee State University/College of Education
Curriculum Laboratory
3500 John Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
(615) 963-5480
Email: djackson@tnstate.edu
SOUTHEAST TENNESSEE DISTRICT
Student Text and Teacher’s Edition Only

Ms. Valarie Adams
Lupton Library
University of Tennessee/Chattanooga
615 McCallie Avenue
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 425-4095
Email: valarie-adams@utc.edu
SOUTHWEST TENNESSEE DISTRICT
Student Text and Teacher’s Edition Only

Mr. Scott Cohen
Library
Jackson State Community College
2046 North Parkway
Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 425-2615
Email: scohen@jscc.edu
MEMPHIS DELTA DISTRICT
Student Text, Teacher’s Edition and Ancillaries Bid For Contract

Ernie Rakow
Learning Resources Center
University of Memphis
Ball Education Building, Room  320
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2362
Email: erakow@memphis.edu