Delay the Core? Unacceptable

Earlier this week, we published a story in which State Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, indicated that around a dozen House Republicans are united behind a bill to take a pause from the Common Core State Standards – for up to three or four years — and separate legislation to delay administering its corresponding test, called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

In that story, which was compiled from Staff and Wire Reports, Womick was quoted as saying, “Bottom line is, yes, we’re looking at legislation that will put a pause on Common Core and put a pause on the PARCC testing until we can sit down and really take a look at this and see what’s going on with it.”

It may be somewhat shocking to some Nashville, but the rest of us aren’t really excited to call a timeout and wait around – up to four years – while they get up to speed.

Tennessee voted – voluntarily – to join the Common Core movement back in 2010. During the ensuing years, a grassroots misinformation campaign mixed with some legitimate concerns expressed by the state’s educators to build a small but growing swell of push back against the Core.

A similar refrain can be heard in some of the other 45 states who have adopted the Core, which is nothing more than an attempt to level the educational playing field so that an “A” means the same in a Tennessee High School as it does in one in Idaho, Indiana or Iowa.

The Editorial Board of the Citizen Tribune firmly supports the Common Core as does the vast majority of educators, administrators and education stakeholders, such as military, business and industry leaders, who have taken the time to really study the Core, it’s goals and the benchmarks it sets forth.

It may be cynical, but it is hard to accept that this multi-state push against the Core, often from ultra conservatives, is more than just an ideological crusade cloaked in the disguise of hot-button buzz word hand-wringing. To put it another way, we fear certain leaders are fudging with the facts and using this issue to stoke up their constituency in an effort to gain power to be applied to “bigger” issues.

Wait? They want us to wait? The entirety of the state’s education system has been gearing up for this for more than three years and they want to call a timeout?

Why? Because they want to “really take a look at this and see what’s going on with it.”

Our question is why weren’t they doing that all along? It’s a shame when our legislators don’t like doing their homework more than the students they’re supposed to represent.

We can’t speak for Rep. Womick and his lagging band of legislators, but we are tired of being from a state that continually ranks among the best in roads and worst in schools.

Under the leadership of Gov. Bill Haslam, and in some fairness his predecessor Phil Bredesen, Tennessee has finally made some headway, some progress.

Thanks to the Republican leadership in Nashville, our state ranks among the most attractive to business and industry in the country. But if our workers can’t do the jobs being asked of them, all the industry-friendly laws in the world aren’t going to make a bit of difference in the long run.

We urge anyone who cares about the condition of education in Tennessee to find out about the Core for themselves. Read from multiple sources, seek out multiple points of view and decide for yourself whether or not the Common Core is what’s best for Tennessee. We humbly offer the special section we did this fall that is still available online at www.citizentribune.com as one such source.

Then maybe you can call Rep. Womick and his friends and help them get up to speed.

Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm