TN legislature vote on Common Core leaves many questions -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

TN legislature vote on Common Core leaves many questions


What started out as an idea to better educate students has turned into such a political issue, it's hard to see if progress is being made. One-by-one states have been re-evaluating the Common Core program.

The Tennessee House overwhelmingly passed a proposal Thursday that would delay Common Core for another two years, so some wonder what it means for those it was intended to help: the students.

In 2010, Tennessee became one of 45 states that decided to implement these new Common core standards, designed to ensure students were being taught the critical thinking skills needed to become successful adults and not just good test takers.

Over the past three years, those new learning techniques and assessments were integrated into Tennessee school systems but not without a lot of debate over whether the things being taught would achieve the initial goal.

"When you're on the right side of an issue and an issue you believe in, you use all legitimate means to get that issue before your colleagues," said State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley.

But in order for the two-year delay to become a reality, the Senate now has to agree. That is something many teachers are hoping for, since those Common Core assessments could wind up impacting their salaries and careers.

"The problem in our mind is not so much with the standards as with the rush to implement them and attaching high stakes, from the beginning, to these assessments," said Carol Schmoock, with the Tennessee Education Association.

It's no secret Gov. Bill Haslam is in favor of Common Core, but he has not indicated whether he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk. A spokesman said Thursday the governor's office "will review the amendments to assess their impact."

Eighth grade math teacher Cicely Woodard is a Common Core trainer, and even she doesn't know what all this means yet for students, many of whom have been learning under the new standards for three years now.

"I talk with other teachers, and we wonder the same thing, because we have been studying the standards for years," Woodard, who teaches at Rosa Parks Middle School. "I'm not sure. I don't know where we would go next."

Woodard is currently in Washington along with Mayor Karl Dean, where they are talking about the success of Common Core in Tennessee.

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