In a process that began just 10 days ago, more than 15,000 comments have been submitted as part of a review of Common Core State Standards. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam says he really does intend to listen.
The recently re-elected Republican told hundreds of school board members gathered in Nashville that people may have legitimate improvements to Common Core and that he isn’t just putting on a show.
“I would not waste everybody’s time doing that,” he said.
Haslam points out, however, that the standards are highly specific, like prescribing when students should learn to multiply fractions. He says he hopes focusing on the details might cut through the political debate.
“When you talk about what you don’t like about the standards then tell me what you don’t like and what you’d like to see instead,” Haslam told reporters. “That’s what we’re committed to doing.”
Two Republican legislators – including Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) who chairs the Education Committee – have filed a bill to abandon Common Core altogether and set up a panel to establish Tennessee standards.
“We need to be a leader and take the next logical step which is to use the knowledge we have learned and tailor it to Tennessee students, exerting state responsibility over education,” Gresham said in a written statement.
Haslam says he has talked to the sponsors about their bill, though he says he’s only read a summary. Off hand, he questions whether it might create confusion since the state board of education – which the governor appoints – currently establishes standards.