For Immediate Release: June 26, 2014 Contact: Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336
(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) – Legislation passed by the General Assembly this year aiming to block federal intrusion into Tennessee’s K-12 school curriculum and the system which tests annual student progress will become effective on Tuesday. The new law also prohibits the state from implementing Common Core State Standards for science and social studies in Tennessee.
Common Core State Standards are standards adopted by 45 states to measure student progress that were developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Tennessee began phasing in the standards in English language arts and math in 2011, with full implementation of these subjects in the 2013-14 school year. The new law specifies that Tennessee “shall not adopt Common Core State Standards in any subject matter beyond math and English language arts.”
“This legislation will help protect us against federal intrusion into our curriculum so it reflects Tennessee values,” said Chairman Gresham. “Combined with a new law which overhauls the way we select textbooks to help ensure students are presented with unbiased factual information, we made significant progress this year in addressing many serious concerns with our education system in Tennessee.”
“The Data Accessibility, Transparency and Accountability Act reiterates the federal government has no constitutional right to set educational standards and ensures that any partnership with a consortium is totally at the discretion of the state,” added Gresham. “It also requires consent by a parent before any biometric data can be collected on a student and forbids the state from conducting an assessment or applying for a grant that violates this requirement. Similarly, the new law protects the identifying information of teachers regarding their personal evaluation scores.”
Gresham said the comprehensive law delays implementation of a new assessment to replace the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test for K-12 students for one year. Tennessee students were scheduled to be assessed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, which aligns with Tennessee’s Common Core State Standards next spring. The new law instead calls for solicitation of proposals for a new assessment system through a competitive bidding process with review of the contract awarded by the General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee.
Passage of the legislation comes after the Senate Education Committee conducted fact-finding hearings last year to address concerns regarding Common Core.
“With passage of this new law, we have repudiated a nationalized education system and have maintained our sovereignty over how children in Tennessee are educated,” added Gresham. “I am very pleased that this new law was passed and that it will be enacted on Tuesday.”
Senator Gresham represents Chester, Decatur, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, McNairy and Henderson Counties in the Senate. She and her husband Will, both U. S. Marine Corps retired lieutenant colonels, live on their cattle farm in Somerville.