May 30, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn.– State Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) and Representative Billy Spivey (R-Lewisburg) today released a letter they sent to Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson requesting an investigation regarding the delay in the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores. The inquiry comes after the Department of Education’s last minute notification to local school districts that the scores would not be complete in time for final report cards for many of them.
State law requires that TCAP results account for 15 percent to 25 percent of a student’s final grade. The Education Department offered waivers from that requirement to affected schools.
“We feel that it is paramount that a third party conduct the investigation/audit and provide the results to members of the General Assembly,” Bowling and Spivey said. “The members could then share these results with their respective districts and directors of schools, and hopefully alleviate any concerns that they may currently have.”
The legislators also noted in their request that it is evident that a “visible level of distrust exists between a fair number of Directors of Schools and the Department of Education, as well as some members of the General Assembly and the Department of Education.” Spivey and Bowling submitted a list of questions posed by the Professional Educators of Tennessee (PET) to the Department of Education regarding the mistake. The lawmakers asked the Comptroller to use them as a template in conducting the investigation/audit. Spivey and Bowling said the questions are representative of a number of requests coming into their offices from teachers, administrators and parents in their district regarding distrust of the current testing system and the failure to get the results in on time.
“This distrust, whatever the level, is unhealthy for Tennessee and needs to be addressed,” added Bowling and Spivey. “We look forward to hearing back from the Comptroller and hope that the investigative audit can move forward.”