By Bonnie Davis Guy
Currently the Tennessee State Academic Standards include Common Core standards for English and math. Common Core standards have not always been popular and have been the subject of much heated debate with parents and educators alike. However, according to the Common Core website, State school chiefs and governors recognized the value of consistent, real-world learning goals and launched this effort to ensure all students, regardless of where they live, are graduating high school prepared for college, career, and life.
Many educators and parents alike see benefit in Common Cores consistency and use of standards that begin in pre-school and expand with difficulty as the student ages and progresses in grade level. However, there are serious concerns over several methods used with Common Core that have resulted in much of the negative press the standards have received. According to Joy Pullmann, a research fellow on Education Policy for the Heartland Institute, there are several key reasons Common Core is not popular. First is the new method required to do math that can be both frustrating and time consuming. Second is objection to some of the approved reading material. Many consider some of the books to be inappropriate for even high school readers due to their adult content. Another complaint is the focus of standardized testing. Common Core uses testing as a method of data collection and therefore testing is an important component of the program. Parents complain that the Common Core standards make it impossible for them to engage in their childs education; they feel left out of the process. Finally, many complain of undue stress being placed on children to perform. Tears, stomach upset, and other symptoms of anxiety are chief complaints reported.
On April 20, 2015 Tennessee law makers in the House unanimously passed a bill sponsored by Republicans Bell and Spivey that would replace the current standards including Common Core with new standards developed solely in Tennessee by committees created by the State Board of Education. On April 21, 2015 the bill went to the State Senate and every Tennessee legislator except one voted yes for the bill. Governor Bill Haslam has been involved in the legislative process surrounding the standards change and has pledged to sign the bill into law when it comes to his desk.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.
By Bonnie Davis Guy