Tensions Mount Over Common Core As Tennessee Senators Pass Bill To Target “Data Mining”

Tensions Mount Over Common Core As Tennessee Senators Pass Bill To Target “Data Mining”
Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) finds herself in the awkward position of carrying one bill lawmakers want to reign in parts of Common Core, while chairing the Senate Education Committee, which last week killed a couple others meant to go further against the standards. (Photo via tnsenate.com)

State lawmakers showed no sign of letting up Monday night on new educational standards they’ve been taking pot shots at, known as the Common Core. Senators passed a bill aimed at concerns over the use of student data, while tensions mounted more broadly over the new educational benchmarks.

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To Sell Free Community College Plan, Tennessee Governor Meets Universities In The Middle

To Sell Free Community College Plan, Tennessee Governor Meets Universities In The Middle
Every lawmaker in the chamber stood and applauded as Gov. Bill Haslam described his plan to pay community college tuition for anyone who needs it during his State of the State address in February. Credit: Stephen Jerkins

Governor Bill Haslam is starting to compromise on his administration’s proposal to pay the full tuition for anyone going to community college.

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Meet The Mom Pushing To Require Tennessee Students To Know Cursive

Meet The Mom Pushing To Require Tennessee Students To Know Cursive
Conservative activists around the country have attacked Common Core for not including cursive instruction. However, Tennessee education officials say state standards have never mandated cursive. Credit: Josh Hallet via Flickr

Tennessee school children may soon be required to learn cursive, which has never been mandated. A family from Columbia is responsible for making handwriting a legislative issue.

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In Surprise Maneuver, Tennessee House Votes Overwhelmingly To Delay Common Core Test

In Surprise Maneuver, Tennessee House Votes Overwhelmingly To Delay Common Core Test
Craig Fitzhugh, a leading House Democrat, brought amendments to delay for two years any further implementation of the Common Core standards, as well as its test, known as PARCC. (Photo: Daniel Potter/PARCC)

The surprise move would not change benchmarks already in place in math and language-arts, but it would set back a new standardized test currently set to start next year.

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Tennessee Teachers File First Lawsuit Over Use Of Test Data In Pay Decisions

Tennessee Teachers File First Lawsuit Over Use Of Test Data In Pay Decisions
In August of 2013, the Tennessee Education Association tried to keep the state board of education from giving final approval to a plan linking license renewal to student achievement data. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

An algebra teacher in Knoxville has filed a lawsuit against the use of student improvement data in pay decisions. The Tennessee Education Association says it’s just the first of many legal challenges in the works.

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Latest School Voucher Proposal Would Include Some Rural Counties

Latest School Voucher Proposal Would Include Some Rural Counties
A voucher proposal first made it through the state Senate a few years ago before the governor called a task force to examine the matter in 2012. Legislative wrangling scuttled a proposal last year. (Credit MyTudat/flickr)

A school vouchers proposal that moved ahead Wednesday in the state legislature may affect some rural districts in addition to Tennessee’s cities. A voucher program would help students in failing public schools pay for private tuition instead.

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Undocumented Immigrants, In-State Tuition, And A Tough Call For Republican Lawmakers

Undocumented Immigrants, In-State Tuition, And A Tough Call For Republican Lawmakers
Rep. Richard Floyd made an impassioned plea to colleagues to help undocumented immigrants afford college, but the House Education Subcommittee ended up putting off his proposal until next week. (Photo via capitol.tn.gov)

Two proposals in the state legislature are testing how far Tennessee Republicans are willing to go in cases involving undocumented immigrants, when it comes to charging in-state tuition to public universities.

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The Lawmaker Quarterbacking The Governor’s Voucher Proposal Isn’t Negotiating

The Lawmaker Quarterbacking The Governor’s Voucher Proposal Isn’t Negotiating
Tennessee Senators Brian Kelsey (left) and Mark Norris in 2010. Kelsey says he's hopeful for a compromise on school vouchers this year, but Norris says the two haven't been talking. (Image via MarkNorris.org)

The state senator tasked with passing Gov. Bill Haslam’s school voucher proposal says he’s not in negotiations with a lawmaker pushing for a more expansive version. Any voucher program would divert state education dollars to help poor families afford tuition at private schools.

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The Difference Between For-Profit Charter Schools And Schools Run By For-Profits

The Difference Between For-Profit Charter Schools And Schools Run By For-Profits
Charter Schools USA of Florida and Michigan-based National Heritage Academies have hired lobbyists for the last two years to help get for-profit charter schools allowed in Tennessee. Credit: Charter Schools USA

Supporters of for-profit charter schools are trying to avoid using those words. Debate in the state legislature has gotten hung up on semantics.

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Does The Math Work On Haslam’s Free Community College Plan?

Does The Math Work On Haslam’s Free Community College Plan?
Treasurer David Lillard (left) oversees much of the state's cash, including the more than $400 million lottery reserve fund which would be used under Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to pay for community college. Credit: TN Photo Services

One of the outstanding questions on Governor Bill Haslam’s plan to offer free community college is whether the financing will really work. That’s even a question to the state’s top money-man, Treasurer David Lillard.

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