Tennessee’s education leaders are playing defense as goals for students known as “Common Core” are under fire.
Opponents who paint Common Core as a federal overreach into the classroom are expected to draw a crowd of hundreds at a panel discussion in Cool Springs tonight. Last week, a Rutherford County school board meeting was crowded with parents angry about the changes.
Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman contends much of the criticism is based on misinformation.
For one thing, he says the standards are just goals for what students should know at the end of a course. He says that leaves plenty of decisions up to teachers and local districts.
“There’s a big difference between saying you have to be able to demonstrate that you can add and subtract fractions in this way and saying this is the book you have to purchase and this is what you have to do on Monday.”
Huffman points out that Common Core was developed by a group of states, not Washington officials, and that no state is forced to participate. And he emphasizes that Tennessee was deeply involved in writing the new benchmarks.
That said, the Obama administration did push states to adopt the new standards by making that a condition for winning Race to the Top money. Only six states have chosen to opt out.