published Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Governor Haslam visiting Tennessee schools to defend Common Core standards

NASHVILLE -- Gov. Bill Haslam says there's "still a lot of game to be played" as he scrambles to shore up support for Tennessee's Common Core teaching and testing standards in the General Assembly.

The Republican governor this morning began visiting schools in East, Middle and West Tennessee in an effort to seize the bully pulpit and defend Common Core.

That abrupt change in Haslam's strategy came after after Haslam's embarassing loss in the GOP-controlled House as a coaltion of fellow Republicans and Democrats overran the administration's objections and voted 82-11 for a two-year delay in Common Core.

Monday night, Haslam recovered his momentum after being handed a Senate victory with Republican Speaker Ron Ramsey's help as senators approved a bill that addresses some Common Core criticisms but contains no delay.

"Obviously, there’s still a lot of game to be played, if you will," the Nashville Post reported Haslam as telling reporters on Monday.

Changes already made in instructional methods to accomodate Common Core are already helping improve public education, the governor said. Moreover, he noted, the Senate Education Committee last year held special hearings on Common Core that addressed criticism, he noted.

"So my point is let’s have that discussion because there are so many misconceptions out there," the governor said.

The House Education Committee never held such hearings.

Haslam began today with a visit to Cedar Grove Elementary School in Smyrna, near Nashville, with later visits planned to Indian Trail Intermediate in Johnson City. His third visit is to Lexington Middle School in West Tennessee.

Meanwhile, Common Core supporters are holding a state Capitol news conference later this morning.

Business groups have supported Common Core all along and have rushed to its defense. The Chattanooga Area of Commerce last week issued an alert calling on members to contact legislators.

"The Common Core standard is a benchmark which prepares students for today's workforce--unlike Tennessee's previous, lower educational standard," the local chamber said in its missive. "Even though Common Core and the other educational reforms the legislature voted to institute in 2010 have only been in place a brief time, our students and teachers are already achieving remarkable results."

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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