Tennessee’s Lightning Rod Education Commissioner Steps Down, Citing Toll Of The Job

Tennessee’s Lightning Rod Education Commissioner Steps Down, Citing Toll Of The Job
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said he was brought to Tennessee to be a "change agent." He has defended Common Core standards, stayed the course on stepped-up teacher evaluations and unsuccessfully defended the state's participation in Common Core testing. Credit: TN Photo Services

Governor Bill Haslam is going to have to find a new education commissioner for his second term. Kevin Huffman, who has often found himself at the center of controversy, is calling it quits after four years.

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Haslam’s Common Core Review Is A Path Toward ‘Tennessee Standards’

Haslam’s Common Core Review Is A Path Toward ‘Tennessee Standards’
In September, Governor Bill Haslam held an education summit where he signaled the state would review Common Core. Credit: TN Photo Services

More than 40 teachers, professors and administrators will spend the next year combing through Common Core education standards and suggesting changes. Governor Bill Haslam also announced Wednesday the state is posting the standards to a website in the coming weeks so parents can read them and offer their suggestions.

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Haslam Plans Mass Vetting Of Common Core, Commits To ‘Higher Standards’

Haslam Plans Mass Vetting Of Common Core, Commits To ‘Higher Standards’
Gov. Bill Haslam met with groups of educators in West, Middle and East Tennessee to talk about the benefits of Common Core as the state standards are under attack in the legislature. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Governor Bill Haslam denies that his support for Common Core is softening. The questions arise because he’s spent more time defending “higher standards” than specifically Common Core in recent months.

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Nashville School Board Candidates Wander All Over The Map On Common Core

Nashville School Board Candidates Wander All Over The Map On Common Core
It's been primarily conservative groups protesting Common Core. This is a photo from a Sacramento protest. Many see the standards as a federal take over of the education system. Credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Common Core has become a clear differentiator in Nashville’s school board races. Incumbents are confident in the new education standards adopted by most states. Challengers range from confused to fed up.

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National Governors Association Helped Create Common Core, But That Won’t Be On Nashville Agenda

National Governors Association Helped Create Common Core, But That Won’t Be On Nashville Agenda
Haslam told reporters Tuesday morning he spoke to the state's transportation commissioner to "make certain anything we do doesn't... either in a legal way or in a precedent way cause us issues with how the department of transportation has traditionally run projects." (Photo via Gov. Bill Haslam's flickr)

Even though Common Core isn’t an official topic this week, some say it’ll be unavoidable.

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Muted Fanfare For TCAP Results As Debate Swirls Over Test’s Reliability

Muted Fanfare For TCAP Results As Debate Swirls Over Test’s Reliability
On Tuesday, Governor Bill Haslam, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman and a former principal from Covington, Tenn. announced the release of 2014 statewide TCAP results. District and school-level data will come out later this summer. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Tennessee education officials have begun their annual release of standardized test results. This year’s TCAP scores are mixed, with improvements in math and slight declines in reading. The explanation has less to do with teachers and test-takers and more to do with the test itself.

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Tennessee Board Of Regents Chief Takes National Role Backing Common Core

Tennessee Board Of Regents Chief Takes National Role Backing Common Core
John Morgan in the chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents and a supporter of Common Core which has been adopted in 45 states, including Tennessee. Credit: TN Photo Services

The chancellor of Tennessee’s Board of Regents is becoming more vocal about supporting Common Core - the K-12 education standards with a growing number of critics on both ends of the political spectrum.

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U.S. Secretary Of Education: States (Like Tennessee) Need ‘Courage’ To Implement Common Core

U.S. Secretary Of Education: States (Like Tennessee) Need ‘Courage’ To Implement Common Core
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke on a panel at Brick Church Middle School, which is transitioning to become a charter school. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Arne Duncan praised Tennessee for setting higher standards in schools but said the state is focusing on the wrong battles. His visit came shortly after state lawmakers delayed a testing portion of the Common Core.

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Two Ways TN Legislators Running For Congress Explain Common Core: Denial Or Regret

Two Ways TN Legislators Running For Congress Explain Common Core: Denial Or Regret
It's been primarily conservative groups protesting Common Core. This is a photo from a Sacramento protest. Many see the standards as a federal take over of the education system. Credit: Steve Rhodes via Flickr

Common Core has become political kryptonite in GOP primary campaigns for Congress. And two Tennessee legislators running for higher office helped vote in the new educational standards, but they have very different ways of defending it.

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Two Words You Won’t Hear Lamar Alexander Say Right Now: Common Core

Two Words You Won’t Hear Lamar Alexander Say Right Now: Common Core
Sen. Lamar Alexander speaks alongside Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky State Rep. Jim DeCesare, Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, and Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. Paul and Alexander are sponsoring legislation that will make it easier for states to set up charter schools. Image: Bradley George/WPLN

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has been doing his best to avoid saying he supports Common Core education standards. The controversial benchmarks for what students should learn in each grade have become a campaign issue in several races, including Alexander's.

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Lawmaker Airs Grievances Against Common Core, But Proposals To Undo It Fail

Lawmaker Airs Grievances Against Common Core, But Proposals To Undo It Fail
Rep. Rick Womick (R-Rockvale) says teachers and parents in his district have asked him to fight the Common Core standards, now in place in math and language-arts classes.

A state lawmaker who’s been itching for a fight over the Common Core educational standards got one yesterday. Rep. Rick Womick brought proposals to discontinue Tennessee’s use of the grade-level benchmarks and their companion test; both were killed in committee.

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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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