14 State Legislators, Professional Educators Ask Education Commissioner Huffman To Resign Over Common Core, Other Issues

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fourteen state legislators on Thursday  released a signed letter and issued a statement calling on Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to resign "under growing scrutiny of his implementation of Common Core standards and testing in Tennessee."

The Professional Educators of Tennessee joined in the call.

Rep. Joe Carr, one of the group, said, “Due to Commissioner Huffman’s failed leadership at the Tennessee Department of Education, teacher morale continues to decline with the continued uncertainty and ever changing expectations in the classroom.  In addition Commissioner Huffman has failed to address the growing skepticism by teachers and parents by insisting on the complete adoption and implementation of Common Core.

"As a result of the failed adoption of a fatally flawed Common Core, student test scores have not performed as advertised and have appeared to have deteriorated. Instead of fixing these errors, Commissioner Huffman has apparently violated Tennessee state law in delaying the reporting of student test scores.

“New leadership at the Tennessee Department of Education is what is needed. The educational requirements of students and teachers must be such that they allow Tennessee to compete on the world stage. Continuing down the road with a failed policy that erodes teacher confidence and fails to teach our children the basics we know are necessary to be competitive, requires us to move in a new direction. We need new leadership at the Department of Education to reinstall trust in this administration, and so today, we call on Commissioner Huffman to resign or Governor Haslam to fire him.”  

The Professional Educators of Tennessee sent this letter to Governor Bill Haslam:

Governor Haslam:

 A formal call for the removal of a state official is rare, so we take the recent call by a group of bipartisan legislators very seriously, as should your administration. We are grateful that many policymakers have expressed their concern with the current direction of the Tennessee Department of Education. We share many of the same trepidations. 

We have refrained from telling you who you should or should not appoint as Commissioner of Education.  However, we have expressed our disappointment and frustrations in private with leaders of your administration. We are unsatisfied with the response. Dialogue is a two-way street, Governor Haslam, and when people no longer feel their voice is heeded or opinion is desired they will express their sentiments at the ballot box, in editorials, to the media and whatever lawful means is at their disposal.  It should not have to come to this.

What is obvious, Governor Haslam, if you are sincere in making Tennessee government transparent and effective, we clearly need a Commissioner of Education that not only communicates with all stakeholders, but can communicate effectively. We need a leader that is a true consensus builder.  We would like someone who can respectfully advocate for the education profession, especially teachers and children.  We need someone that stakeholders can have complete confidence in, preferably someone with a background rooted in public education here in Tennessee.  

So whatever action you decide to take from this point forward in regard to Commissioner Huffman, this much is certain: the Department of Education’s leadership and decisions will continued to be questioned and debated if the status quo is maintained.  No stakeholder or educator that we can identify has confidence that we can have an open, productive and fruitful relationship going forward with current leadership at the Department of Education.  The legislators were indeed accurate about the lack of trust.  This should alarm you and we hope you give this matter a very thoughtful response.     

Respectfully,

J. C. Bowman, PhD

Executive Director


Legendary Lady Vol Basketball Coach Pat Summitt Dies At Age 64

Pat Summitt , legendary Lady Vol basketball coach, mentor and mother-figure to her players; a revered ambassador for her university and state; a trailblazer for women; and a role model for people all over the world passed away early Tuesday in Knoxville at the age of 64. The UT athletic department wrote: "Born Patricia Sue Head on June 14, 1952 in Clarksville, Tn., she arrived ... (click for more)

New Focus At Finley Stadium Will Be As Concert Venue; Gordon Davenport Is New Chairman Of Stadium Board

The year has been a good one for Finley Stadium, said Executive Director Paul Smith at the June board of directors meeting Tuesday afternoon. The gross profit is up $1.3 million, he said giving credit to his staff for the increase. The largest growth this year came from food and beverage which is now handled in-house under the management of Hayley Bates. Alcohol sales have also ... (click for more)

General Bell: Chattanooga Needs The Coolidge Medal Of Honor Heritage Center - And Response (7)

I'm pleased and indeed compelled to let you know a bit more about the exciting and most honorable "Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center" planned for Coolidge Park.     Here's what the Heritage Center will be:  It will be a fitting capstone for Chattanooga's Coolidge Park on Northshore in downtown Chattanooga.  While this exceptional Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Pat Summitt’s Dash

In 1996 a woman named Linda Ellis wrote one of life’s most beautiful poems. Called “The Dash,” its first two verses read like this: “I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend. He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end. “He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke the following date with tears, but he said what ... (click for more)

UTC Coach Jim Foster Recalls His Memories Of Pat Summitt

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s head basketball coach Jim Foster took time out Tuesday afternoon to meet with local media to answer questions about his relationship with the late Pat Summitt, the former head coach and most recently the Head Coach Emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols.   The two Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coaches met each ... (click for more)

Seventh Inning Rally Lifts Generals To 3-1 Win Over Lookouts

The Jackson Generals used a three-run seventh inning to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts, 3-1.   The Lookouts won the first series of the second half, three games to two.. Lookouts starting pitcher Kohl Stewart was the story early for Chattanooga, shutting out Jackson for six innings. The righty got into trouble in the seventh by allowing a walk and a double. After ... (click for more)