House Votes 2-Year Delay Of Common Core; Testing Also Put On Hold

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Tennessee House voted 82-11 on Thursday to delay implementation of the controversial Common Core.

The amendment to an unrelated bill also delays Common Core testing until 2016-2017.

Governor Bill Haslam had urged that the state push on with the Common Core program, but it has been unpopular with some critics, including the Bradley County Commission.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

Jamie Woodson, president and CEO of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE), hit the action that was tied to a bill that would require a stress on teaching about America's past and  accomplishments of its leaders.

He said, "At a time when Tennessee's teachers and students have made unprecedented gains – gains that have led Tennessee to become the fastest-improving state in student achievement – reversing course would be the wrong direction. Our state's historic academic gains grew from a foundation of high expectations for both students and adults.

"Tennessee's Common Core State Standards, and the aligned PARCC assessment, are fundamental to Tennessee's efforts to improve student achievement. Tennessee students have been learning under these higher standards for three years, while more than 42,000 educators have benefited from training in new teaching methods that help students think critically, solve problems, and communicate better.
 
"Moving forward, we have confidence that Tennessee's policymakers will focus on the need to prepare students for the future and will stay the course on high standards."

Here is the bill that was amended:

HOUSE BILL 1129

By Hill T

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49,

relative to education.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 49-6-1011(a), is amended by adding
the following language as a new subdivision:
( ) The United States Constitution;
SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 49-6-1011, is amended by adding
the following language as new subsection (e):
(e) Each student shall be taught the foundational instruments, mechanisms and
values of American government.
SECTION 3. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 49-6-1028, is amended by deleting
subsections (b) and (c) in their entirety and by substituting instead the following:
(b)
(1) The course of instruction in all public schools shall include, at some
appropriate grade level or levels in high school, as determined by the local board
of education, courses and content designed to educate children in the United
States government. The goal of the curriculum shall include the three (3)
branches of government, the fundamental documents that underpin our form of
government, an understanding of how laws are enacted, and ways citizens
shape and influence government and governmental actions.
(2) Students shall be informed of the nature of America which makes it
an exception differentiated by its behavior, influence and contributions from the
other nations of the world; and to show students why it is a positive difference,
HB1129
003210
-2-
that has led the world to improvements in science, agriculture, economics,
education, justice, human rights, the standard of living, and liberty not only within
our borders, but across the world.
(3) Students shall also be informed of the characteristics of the United
States government, to include:
(A) The Declaration of Independence separated our people from
our former government. It explains why we were willing to war against
our own king, what our values were, and how his tyranny had tried to take
those values away;
(B) The Constitution is the "rule book" for how the federal
government works. No action is permitted unless permission for it can be
found in the Constitution;
(C) The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with
the Bill of Rights are available for all to read today, and still apply in
exactly the words they originally contained in simple English; and
(D) The Constitution created a republic, not a democracy. The
difference is that we do not directly choose our laws; we choose wise
people from among us who will represent our interests, and who will
honor the limitations we have put on them, to form our laws. Whatever
needs our representatives may see, and whatever urges we as a people
may feel from time to time, the government is only empowered to address
certain listed issues. It is our duty to use prudence and understanding
when we choose these representatives.
(c) The commissioner of education shall advise all school district boards of
education of this section. All school district boards shall document and report to the
commissioner their compliance with the content of courses as describe in subsection (b).
Copies of this documentation shall be retained in each school for access by parents and
the public at large.
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