Alexander Votes To Defend States’ Rights On Common Core Education Standards

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Wednesday defended states’ rights on common core education standards when he voted against requiring states to obtain approval from the U.S. secretary of education on their education standards and tests.

Referring to the Democratic education bill, the subject of today’s committee meeting, Senator Alexander said, “If your proposal passed, and the state of Tennessee – which adopted the ‘common core’ standards before the secretary ever included it in Race to the Top or anything else, and even helped write the standards – then wanted to change its standards, it would have to amend its state plan, send it to the secretary, he’d peer-review it, and he could approve it or disapprove it. That’s my objection. That transfers authority to Washington from the states.

“And the history of the last ten years, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, has been of well-intended education secretaries and their assistants establishing, quote, ‘parameters,’ and saying to the governor of Tennessee, or wherever: ‘We know more than you do about standards and tests, and unless you agree with us, we won’t approve your plan.’ So, if I go back to Tennessee and someone says to me, ‘Did you vote to deny the right of Tennessee to change its common core standards without the approval of the secretary of education in Washington?,’ I’m going to say, No: I voted to give Tennessee the freedom to write its own standards and tests without having to ask Washington for permission.”

Senator Alexander then voted in favor of an amendment he cosponsored, offered by fellow committee member, Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), to allow states, not Washington, to define high standards and tests for students in reading, math, and science, prohibiting the U.S. secretary of education from specifying, defining or prescribing the standards or measures that states or school districts use to establish, implement or improve standards and tests, as well as prohibit the secretary from requiring or coercing states or local districts to adopt common standards, tests, or accountability systems. The amendment was rejected by the committee on a party-line vote, 10-12.

Senator Alexander said “Common core” standards "are the result of a state-led effort, driven by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and were meant to be a set of standards states could voluntarily adopt to improve their K-12 schools. The U.S. secretary of education has since required states to adopt the standards as a condition of obtaining a waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirements that states are increasingly finding to be cumbersome." 

An official of the Department of Education disputed that statement, saying, "There is no such requirement from Secretary Duncan or the Department related to state requests for waivers from No Child Left Behind."  

Earlier in Wednesday’s markup, Senator Alexander offered a proposal to fix No Child Left Behind, saying, “what we’re trying to do is free the states to help children in 100,000 schools meet their needs in individual ways…the real difference is whether we think the responsibility is here in Washington or at home—we believe it’s at home.” Senator Alexander, the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, offered the proposal as an alternative to the Democratic proposal.


Cleveland State Presents Spring Concert May 4

The Chamber Choir and Vocal Rhapsody Ensemble of Cleveland State Community College will present their annual spring concert on Thursday, May 4 at 7 p.m. in the George R. Johnson Cultural Heritage Center. The celebration with begin with a whimsical tribute to Star Wars, with instrumental music by the Lantigua family and musical parodies by the choirs. William Dickinson, a ... (click for more)

Sequoyah High Senior Michael York Places first In Tennessee SKILLS Competition

Sequoyah High School senior Michael York placed first in the Tennessee SKILLS competition, making him the top high school welder in the state. He will represent the state in the national competition in Louisville. He has participated in school fishing tournaments, lacrosse, baseball, track, basketball, and ROTC. He was also the Raider commander in ROTC. Michael has been ... (click for more)

Lymorris Martin, 59, Stabbed To Death; Rachel Green, 51, Is Arrested

Chattanooga Police responded to the 3200 block of Broad Street early Sunday morning to a person who had been stabbed.   Upon arrival, officers with the Chattanooga Police Department located Lymorris Martin, 59, who had received multiple stab wounds. He had succumbed to his injuries prior to police arrival.   Police were able to detain a suspect, Rachel Diane ... (click for more)

Rescuers Called Out After Male Hits Head After Fall From Rope Swing; He And Companions Trapped On One Side Of The Creek

Rescue crews were setting up a safety line at the first creek crossing at the Pocket Wilderness at the foot of Mowbray Mountain after a male was injured on Saturday night and he and his companions were blocked by high water. Around 7:30 p.m. , a 911 call was made reporting the male had fallen from a man-made rope swing and hit his head on the rocks below at the Blue Hole ... (click for more)

Whatever Happened To The People's Game Warden?

Earlier this year a Chattanoogan.com article published a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency  (TWRA) Wildlife Officer encouraging readers to turn in anyone keeping or caring for an orphaned raccoon, squirrel, bunny or deer, because it may have rabies or pose a danger to some fictitious person.   In another  article, the TWRA Officer invaded a girl's home, seized ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Einstein Explains Insanity

In September of 2002, a detailed study of “Tennessee Schools on Notice” was prepared by the state’s Office of Education Accountability. This was when Senator Bob Corker was the Mayor of Chattanooga and it proves, pretty thoroughly I might add, that after millions upon millions of extra dollars have been poured down the collective drains at schools such as Orchard Knob, Clifton Hills, ... (click for more)