Bradley Commission Passes Resolution Asking Bradley School Board To Give Report On Impact Of Common Core

Monday, October 21, 2013 - by Tony Eubank
Commissioner Brian Smith, Vice-Chairman Adam Lowe, and Chairman Louie Alford
Commissioner Brian Smith, Vice-Chairman Adam Lowe, and Chairman Louie Alford
- photo by Tony Eubank

The jousting over the Tennessee State Board of Education’s adoption of the federal Common Core Standards continued in Monday’s Bradley County Commission meeting. The crux of the debate lay in the level of local control allowed in the adoption of the standards and the acceptance of federal money.

Vice Chairman Adam Lowe introduced a resolution requesting that the Bradley Board of Education put together an official report on Common Core’s impact on Bradley County’s students and teachers.

Director of Cleveland City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff spoke in support of Common Core stating, “This argument should have happened in 2009 when this first came about. They’re already implemented in the school system, its finished. It’s a done deal, they’re being taught and they’ll be tested next year.”

Dr. Ringstaff added, “I’m 100 percent behind it because it’s better than what we had. I have three children who are in the Common Core state standards at Cleveland City Schools and I’m very proud of what’s going on. To me it’s a no brainer.”

Johnny McDaniel, director of Bradley County Schools, contributed the following, “It’s expected that seven of the 10 new jobs coming to Tennessee require post-secondary education and the Common Core Standards are really inline to help our students prepare to be college and career ready. I think that there is a lot of misinformation in the media around Common Core.”

He continued, “I think that you’re doing the right thing in asking the school board to be in charge of what we do around standards, curriculum and textbooks. How we develop curriculum in the classroom and how teachers teach everyday, that has not changed. Teachers still make that decision right here in Bradley County.”

Local Tea Party leader Dan Rawls voiced his concerns over what he views as a federal power grab, “The Common Core is the federalization of the school system. No matter what anyone tells you, I’ll be glad to provide any documentation to show you that you will lose local control of your (school) system. That’s what this is about, this is the federalization of the school system through Head Start, that’s where this all got started. Anyone to say otherwise is less than truthful. This is social justice in the school system, that’s what this is, and to think otherwise would be naïve. This is not good for the students, no matter what you’re being told.”

The debate proceeded further as Commissioner Jeff Yarber posited that Common Core is ideologically driven and that since it is tied to federal money then it cannot help but determine policy. He made a substitute motion to have the commission take an official stance against Common Core and to ask the state legislature to come up with its own educational core, unique to Tennessee.

Commissioner Terry Caywood jumped in stating,  "If I live in Oregon, Tennessee, Mississippi, or New York City, I should get the same quality of education and be as prepared for college as the highest paid teacher.”

He continued, “When you take federal dollars, you lose a lot of your autonomy. What the Common Core legislation does do is, it still leaves the opportunity to the states to choose to do their own (curriculum) or go with the Common Core.”

Commissioner Caywood did warn again that taking federal money comes with implications of compliance with federal demands.

Commissioner Yarber added, “Trusting the federal government not to come back and change once its completely implemented is like trusting a snake to not bite you because it said it wouldn’t.”

His substitute motion did not pass, while the original motion concerning Common Core passed with Commissioner Yarber casting the only dissenting vote.

The commission also passed a resolution in opposition to the Tennessee State Board of Education’s move to tie teacher licensure to the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System scores.

The commission wrapped up the meeting by voting to make the Veterans Home project a funding priority for the Bradley County Health and Community Initiative grant cycle.

Chairman Louie Alford and Commissioners Charlotte Peak-Jones and Jeff Yarber
Chairman Louie Alford and Commissioners Charlotte Peak-Jones and Jeff Yarber
- Photo2 by Tony Eubank

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BENTLEY, ASHA LANAY 2600 CAMPBELL STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37406 24 Chattanooga ASSAULT CRIMINAL IMPERSONATION BOWMAN, CARLON DONTEZ 1812 S WILLOW ST CHATTANOOGA, 37404 24 Hamilton County DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE CANNON, BRETT MATTHEW 7712 HOLLIDAY HILLS CIR CHATTANOOAG, 37416 ... (click for more)

Harrison Man Charged In Sullivan County Drug Thefts

A Harrison man has been indicted by a Grand Jury in Sullivan County on 61 counts of narcotics by fraud and theft charges. The Kingsport Police Department said Michael Todd Burkhart, 48, of Bayshore Drive, was a former nurse at Kingsport. He was charged in connection with missing medication from the Cath Lab of a Kingsport hospital. Police said in September 2013, the pharmacy ... (click for more)

Shelley Andrews Will Be Missed

Shelley Andrews was one of the kindest, most thoughtful and most effective laborers in our community.  Her work with the Friends of Moccasin Bend was exemplary.  She listened, she learned and she led with dignity and class. Her brave battle with ovarian cancer was a testament to her positive spirit and commitment to her work on behalf of the people of this region. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: This One’s For ‘Grifter’

Back in October of 2013 a Facebook page called “OAF Nation” was created to “boost the morale” of the heroes who make up our nation’s military.” It was tongue-in-cheek satire, putting funny captions on every-day pictures that showed members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard as they defended our country. Our fighting men and women loved it. It quickly went viral and today ... (click for more)

UTC Softball Team Prepares for 2015 Season

It’s nine days to the season opener – Plainsman Invite (Auburn, Ala.) – and the UTC Indoor Softball Facility at Warner Park was alive with the sounds of batting and infield practice Wednesday afternoon as the 20 Lady Moc players plus coaches were on hand for 2015 Media Day. Located in their familiar spot as pre-season Southern Conference favorites, UTC returns a strong ... (click for more)

CFC Begins Tryouts Saturday

Chattanooga Football Club is excited to announce their first tryout for this next summer season. This Saturday marks the beginning of the 2015 campaign for a National Title.   “Last season was amazing- highlighted with CFC hosting a crowd of over 9,000 at Finley stadium and then playing for the National Title in New York’s Red Bull Stadium,” said General Manager Sean ... (click for more)