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Tennessee

June 8, 2015

Common Core Standards to be Replaced

Dee Black Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Tennessee. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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On May 11, 2015, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam approved House Bill 1035, legislation which requires that the Common Core State Standards adopted by the state board of education in 2010 be rescinded and replaced by state-developed standards. The new law directs the state board to cancel any memorandum of understanding it previously entered into with the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, who developed the current standards.

The new law establishes a procedure whereby the state board of education will adopt new standards based upon input from a standards recommendation committee. The standards recommendation committee is charged with reviewing and evaluating standards proposed by two standards review and development committees, one for math and one for English language arts. The standards recommendation committee must also seek public comment on the proposed standards via the internet before making its recommendations to the state board.

Deadline

The new standards, to be known as “postsecondary-and-workforce-ready standards,” must be adopted and fully implemented in the public schools in the 2017–2018 school year, at which time the Common Core State Standards will be rescinded.

Notably absent from the new legislation is any mention of the elimination of state testing of the Common Core State Standards that will remain in effect for two more years. According to the department of education’s website, testing of the current standards is to be fully implemented in the 2015–2016 school year via the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, known as TCAP. Public school students in grades 3–11 are to be tested in math and English language arts. But some homeschool students will be included in this testing.

State law requires that students not being homeschooled through enrollment in a church-related school but through their local school district take the same standardized tests required of public school students in grades 5, 7, and 9. The long-term solution to this problem is future legislation that will eliminate testing of homeschool students, particularly testing that is unfairly based on the public school curriculum.

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