Williamson School Board Stops Just Shy Of Opposing Common Core
The Williamson County school board has been meeting in recent weeks to discuss Common Core and whether to pass a resolution in opposition. Credit: David Wright Smith

Williamson School Board Stops Just Shy Of Opposing Common Core

The Williamson County school board has been meeting in recent weeks to discuss Common Core and whether to pass a resolution in opposition. Credit: David Wright Smith
The Williamson County school board has been meeting in recent weeks to discuss Common Core and whether to pass a resolution in opposition. Credit: David Wright Smith

Corrected 9:30 am: The original version of this story mistakenly said the resolution approved Monday night opposed Common Core. That wording was dropped.

Every member of the Williamson County board of education voted for a resolution supporting local standards. But language saying the board “opposed Common Core” was ultimately stripped from the final document.

“It turned from a negative to a very positive supportive document that supports our teachers,” said board member Bobby Hullett, who opposed a resolution that directly condemned Common Core State Standards.

Still, superintendent Mike Looney discouraged the board from moving forward with the symbolic resolution.

“It was a philosophical vote and not a vote that’s practical from the classroom,” Looney said. “That’s why I took the position I did. But certainly, the board has spoken, and I’m a good marine, and I’m going to go fight in that direction.”

The board becomes at least the second in Tennessee to take a formal swipe at Common Core. Lakeland schools outside of Memphis passed a resolution asking the state to repeal the standards.

The Tennessee Department of Education has already told Williamson County – the highest performing district in the state – that it can develop its own standards, so long as Common Core is used as a baseline.

After the vote, newly-elected chairman P.J. Mezera said he’s ready to move on to more practical issues, like overcoming a shortage of bus drivers.

David Wright Smith contributed to this report.

Here’s the exact wording of the resolution passed Monday night:

A RESOLUTION OF THE WILLIAMSON COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION REGARDING COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS IN SUPPORT OF LOCAL CONTROL OF EDUCATION

 

WHEREAS, the Williamson County Board of Education holds student achievement and educational growth as two of its highest responsibilities; and

 

WHEREAS, the Williamson County Board of Education strongly supports and is proud of the challenging, rewarding and excellent work performed by its teachers, administration and staff members; and

 

WHEREAS, Williamson County Schools consistently achieves high outcomes in student learning, and has been declared a high performing school district under the High Performing School Districts Flexibility Act; and

 

WHEREAS, the Williamson County Board of Education strongly supports local control of issues and decisions that have an impact on education in our local schools; and

 

WHEREAS, the Williamson County Board of Education favors standards and curricula emphasizing critical thinking and analytical skills over rote skill repetition, constant and continuous testing, and data-mining for evaluating student performance; and

 

WHEREAS, Williamson County Schools has already added additional rigorous standards to those established by the State of Tennessee, in the form of “Williamson County Expectations” or “WCE’s”; and

 

WHEREAS, Williamson County Schools has recently been granted additional authority to further develop local standards that meet or exceed Tennessee expectations; and

 

WHEREAS, Tennessee’s current Reading Language Arts and Mathematics standards are based on Common Core State Standards; and

 

WHEREAS, educational standards such as Common Core State Standards that are nationally applicable and not locally controlled must comply with existing laws when implemented in Tennessee, including but not limited to, the General Education Provisions Act (“GEPA”), codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1232(a); T.C.A. § 49-1-309; and S.J.R. 491, 108th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee (2014).

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS FOLLOWS:
The Williamson County Board of Education stands in support of locally derived educational standards and decision making.

Blake Farmer

Blake Farmer is WPLN's assistant news director, but he wears many hats - reporter, editor and host. He covers the Tennessee state capitol while also keeping an eye on Fort Campbell and business trends, frequently contributing to national programs. Born in Tennessee and educated in Texas, Blake has called Nashville home for most of his life.
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