Bradley County Commission Takes Stand Against Common Core

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

Bradley County Commissioner Jeff Morelock told the Commission he cannot support a resolution against Common Core during a Tuesday afternoon voting session. The resolution was drafted with the help of the education committee and the Bradley County School Board.

He said, "I feel like basic Common Core, which is just a set of standards for our schools, can be good."

He continued, "I don't think doing away with Common Core is the way to go. We have a real problem with education in this country. This is an attempt, in my mind, to make education better."

Commissioner Morelock said Common Core is not the problem.

However, not everyone agreed. Commissioner Jeff Yarber said, "Common Core is the problem, and we can do it better. I've said it before, Common Core does have some good ideas. But with Common Core, we're tied to the federal system. We're tied to whatever the state does."

Commissioner Yarber compared accepting Common Core to accepting a chain because of the federal regulations that would come with it.

He said, "I would rather we start all over and do this on a local and state level."

Vice Chairman Adam Lowe said, "I do agree with Commissioner Morelock that we have a problem with education. Common Core was a step, but I'm not sure that it was a step in the right direction."

He told the Commission that while Common Core has been largely untested, there were aspects of public education that have been studied and proven to show results.

Vice Chairman Lowe said, "More localized adaptability and nuanced education provides results in the classroom." He said teachers needed to be given the freedom to teach.

He said Common Core took the love out of the classroom and treated teachers like robots. He said officials need to "allow principals to run their schools and allow teachers to teach."

Commissioner Terry Caywood talked about teachers who have told him Common Core made it more difficult to teach based on the needs of the child. He said, "It's the same as saying all of us have to wear a size 10 shoe; it doesn't work that way."

Commissioner Mel Griffith said, "I'm very supportive of the goals of Common Core, but everything I hear tells me we're not going about it in the right way."

Commissioners Bill Winters and Mark Hall still did not agree. Commissioner Winters said, "Common Core standards brought a lot of money into this district." He said, "I don't disagree that there are things that need to be changed, but I can't vote to repeal this."

Commissioner Hall said, "I think my constituents are in favor of Common Core."

Vice Chairman Lowe spoke again, calling the Bradley County School Board commendable and brave for speaking out against Common Core. He said he wanted to see a "sense of bravery" from the Commission, saying it should support the School Board.

After much discussion, the resolution passed.

Cleveland business owner Dan Rawls spoke afterward, saying, "This is bravery. I'm appreciative of what you have done."

During the meeting, several other resolutions were also passed, including one that adopted posted speed limits as the enforceable limits on county maintained roads.

Another resolution was passed that approved a permanent and temporary easement to the city of Cleveland and Cleveland Utilities on Urbane Road for the purpose of installing a water line.

A resolution establishing Bradley County's policy for non-law enforcement personnel was also passed.

In addition, motions to approve the roads Grayson Way, Lauren Way, Stonebridge Lane and Penny Hill Lane each passed.

The Commission meets for a work session next Monday.

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