Bradley Commission Names Panel To Study Private Animal Shelter; Commissioners Rap "Common Core"

Monday, September 16, 2013

A committee of the Bradley County Commission will study two proposals that were submitted by private groups who want to set up an animal shelter to serve the area of the county outside the Cleveland city limits.

Commissioner Jeff Yarber said going to a private entity would be a "step backward," saying the county should make use of Cleveland's existing animal care facility and not "re-invent the wheel." He said government consolidation should be the goal.

County Mayor Gary Davis said he favors the county giving the service to "those who really care about the issue, rather than to government." He said he hopes that the private venture "will work so well that the city of Cleveland will decide they want to be a part of this."

County Mayor Davis said there is no rush to set up a private shelter since the county commissioners have signed an agreement to use the city of Cleveland's animal services for six months for $120,000.

He said the county had received "two very good proposals that should give us a long-term solution."

Named to the committee were Ed Elkins, Vice Chairman Adam Lowe, Charlotte Peak-Jones, Mark Hall and Bill Winters.

Also, Bradley Commissioners blasted the move to "Common Core" standards in the public schools. Vice Chairman Adam Lowe said local schools had already adopted Common Core in advance of the time they will be required to.

Commissioner Terry Caywood, who had 38 years in education, said several legislators will take part in hearings in Nashville on Tuesday. He said many are "up in arms" over the program.

Commissioner Caywood said Common Core is leading to excessive testing at the schools, including four days in one week and two tests on one day. He said fourth graders had to take a 12-page test. "This is ridiculous," he said.

He said the state of Massachusetts led the nation in educational results for three years, then began falling after moving to Common Core. He said Massachusetts then dropped Common Core and adopted Tennessee's TCAP.

He said due to the testing that teachers could not teach the material they felt was most needed, but were focusing on meeting the test requirements. He said teachers who did not go along were penalized.

Commissioner Caywood said he knew of "three great teachers who quit because of Common Core. "They couldn't take the pressure of all the testing."

Commissioner Yarber said the initiative is "almost a silent killer. It got to us under the radar." He said the commission should pass a resolution in opposition.

Commissioner Elkins said some standardized testing is good, but not so that "teachers are teaching to the test." 

A citizen said states and local government that go along with Common Core will wind up paying out much more than they get in federal grants.

He also said that Common Core standards go against the moral values of many Bradley citizens.

Chairman Louie Alford asked that the commission's education committee study the issue and make a recommendation to the full commission.

He also named Commissioners Lowe and Yarber to a rules committee. They are to meet with County Attorney Crystal Freiberg to work out any proposed changes. Commissioner Yarber objected recently when Chairman Alford made some appointments without commission input.

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