TN Common Core Hearing Starts With A Yawn: Reading The Standards

Members listened to the standards being read for nearly five hours. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Members listened to the standards being read for nearly five hours. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

A much-anticipated legislative hearing over Tennessee’s use of Common Core began with an afternoon-long recitation of the Common Core math and reading standards.

Two officials from the Education Department took turns flipping through a three-inch binder, ticking off the benchmarks by grade. They drove many in the standing-room-only crowd to clear out early.

“Not exactly riveting,” Senate Education Committee chair Dolores Gresham said. “But very important we hear what the standards are.”

Committee members have so far stayed away from politics, only asking a few questions, like, “why isn’t cursive writing part of Common Core?”

Candy Emerson-Lawson is a retired kindergarten teacher from Williamson County who listened from the hallway, wearing a “Stop Common Core” sticker. She admits that most of the benchmarks sound fairly innocuous.

“The standards in themselves are like a skeleton,” she said. “It’s hanging on a wall and it can cause no harm – really. But it’s what you do with those standards.”

Lawson says she still believes Common Core is meant to sneak liberal-leaning literature and science into classrooms.

The legislature’s Common Core hearing continues Friday. The panel is not considering any legislation, only compiling a report for the General Assembly.

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