Yesterday the Tennessee House votes 97 to 0 to pass HB 1035, a bill that would replace the Common Core State Standards by the 2017-2018 school year.
Here is the bill’s summary in full:
AMENDMENT #1 rewrites this bill and requires the state board of education to implement a process whereby the set of standards known as the Common Core State Standards adopted in 2010 will be reviewed and replaced with new sets of standards adopted to fit the needs of Tennessee students. These college-and-career-ready standards must be adopted through an open, transparent process that allows all Tennesseans an opportunity to participate. These standards must be adopted and fully implemented in Tennessee public schools in the 2017-2018 school year.
This amendment requires the state board of education or the department of education to cancel any memorandum of understanding concerning the Common Core State Standards entered into with the national governor’s association and the council of chief state school officers.
As required by the current established process:
(1) The state board will appoint two standards review and development committees. One committee will be an English language arts standards review and development committee, and one committee will be a mathematics standards review and development committee. Each committee will be composed of two representatives from institutions of higher education located in the state and six educators who reside in the state and work in grades K-12;
(2) The state board will also appoint six advisory teams. Three advisory teams will advise and assist the English language arts standards review and development committee, and three advisory teams will advise and assist the mathematics standards review and development committee. The advisory teams will be structured by grade levels, so that one advisory team reviews standards for K-5, one for grades 6-8, and one for grades 9-12 in each subject. Each advisory team will be composed of one representative from an institution of higher education located in the state and six educators who reside in the state and work in the appropriate grade levels and subject;
(3) The public’s assistance in reviewing the current standards and suggesting changes to the current standards will be elicited through a web site that allows comment by the public, as well as by educators, on the current standards. A third-party, independent educational resource, selected by the state board, will collect all of the data and transmit all of the information gathered to the state board for dissemination to the appropriate advisory team for review and consideration;
(4) Each advisory team must review the current standards for its subject matter and grade level together with the comments and suggestions gathered from the public and educators. After an advisory team has conducted its review, the team will make recommendations for changes to the current standards to the appropriate standards review and development committee; and
(5) Each standards review and development committee will review its advisory teams’ reports and make recommendations for the new set of standards to the standards recommendation committee, created by this amendment.
The standards recommendation committee will be composed of 10 members. The governor will appoint four members, the speaker of the senate will appoint three members, and the speaker of the house will appoint three members. The standards recommendation committee will review and evaluate the recommendations of the two standards review and development committees and post the recommendations to the web site created pursuant to this amendment for the purpose of gathering additional feedback from the public. The standards recommendation committee must make the final recommendations as to the new set of standards to the state board, which will adopt sets of standards in English language arts and mathematics that fit the needs of Tennessee students in K-12.
Prior to the next adoption of academic standards in the subjects of science and social studies, the state board of education must establish a process whereby the board will receive recommendations from a standards recommendation committee appointed in the same manner as the standards recommendation committee created above. The standards recommendation committee will make the final recommendations as to the revision and replacement of the current sets of standards in these subject areas to the state board, which will adopt sets of standards in science and social studies that fit the needs of Tennessee students in K-12. Each LEA will be responsible for developing and implementing the instructional programs under the state standards adopted by the state board that best fit its students’ educational needs, that achieve levels of proficiency or advanced mastery, and that vigorously promote individual teacher creativity and autonomy.
AMENDMENT #2 refers to “postsecondary-and-workforce ready standards” instead of “college-and-career ready standards”.
AMENDMENT #3 adds a preamble and requires that all appointments to the standards recommendation committee be subject to confirmation by the senate and the house. The appointments to the standards recommendation committee will be effective until adversely acted upon by the senate and the house.
“This legislation is a template for all states to begin a much needed journey of separation from federally generated standards and an invitation to embrace each states’ own constitutionally delegated authority to serve its citizens at its own will,” said HB1035 chief sponsor Rep. Billy Spivey (R-Lewisburg). “As our founders and God surely intended.”
“I set out on a mission to do everything in my power to repeal Common Core in State of Tennessee this year,” said HB1035 chief co-sponsor Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden). “In addition to repealing Common Core, this bill puts even more control back in the hands of families, local schools and the State of Tennessee, which is exactly where it belongs.”
“Both Democrats and Republicans in my district are strongly against Common Core,” said co-sponsor Rep. Bryan Terry (R-Murfreesboro).” I am proud to have had the opportunity to amend this legislation in order to ensure that the was indeed to completely rescind Common Core from the State of Tennessee. Tennessee families, teachers and legislators will now be able to create their own standards, and for that I am thankful.”
While I won’t say bills like these are not a positive step in the right direction considering the alternative I do have concerns that perhaps the Tennessee Senate can address.
It’s hard not to be skeptical of replacement bills of late because as we have just seen rebranding. This bill is interesting however because it has three layers – advisory teams, standards review and development committee, and then the standards recommendation committee. The standards recommendation committee appointments are subject for confirmation. Interestingly enough that is the committee that is appointed by the Governor (4 members), Speaker of the Senate (3 members) and Speaker of the House (3 members). The standards review and development teams and advisory teams are appointed by the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education then has final say on adopting the new standards.
The biggest problem I have with this bill is that the State Board of Education has final say on the standards that are adopted. The Legislature cedes it’s oversight of the process. Having a recommendation committee that functions separately from the development committee isn’t a bad idea. I also don’t like that there is not public forums for public feedback. They need something beyond taking comments online. All comments should be made public prior to the adoption of any standards. All meetings should be recorded. EVERYTHING involving this process should be open and transparent and then ultimately the Legislature not the State Board of Education should have the final say in the matter.