Tennessee State Rep. Joe Carr (R) would like to see the Common Core Learning Standards repealed entirely in his state, but he was happy that on Thursday state lawmakers voted to delay the standards for two years.
Carr, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) (R), has been a Rutherford County state representative for five years.
In an interview with Breitbart News, Carr said several bills had been filed in both Tennessee’s State House and Senate to repeal or delay the implementation of Common Core or portions of it. A coalition of Republican and Democrat lawmakers used an unrelated bill to force a decision on the standards.
“We voted 80-11 to delay the Common Core standards and the PARCC assessments for two years, with a handful of us in the House leading the charge,” Carr said. “That gives us breathing room.”
The vote is a rebuke of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, who have moved ahead with the Common Core standards, arguing that Tennessee must keep up with other states.
According to The Tennessean, Haslam urged members of the state legislature not to repeal or delay the standards or testing. In a letter to lawmakers, the Governor said such action “would be a disruptive and costly endeavor for the state as well as the districts, schools and teachers that have been implementing the standards for some time.”
Common Core opponents, however, filed two dozen late amendments to House Bill 1129, a measure that would require schools to teach the “values of American government,” including the U.S. Constitution. The amendments would freeze the implementation of Common Core until July 1, 2016, and block the use of the new Common Core science and social studies standards, as well as the PARCC Common Core-aligned assessments.
Some opponents of the centralized standards, however, criticized the fact that the current Common Core math and English Language Arts standards would remain in place.
“We have to stay diligent,” said Karen Bracken, founder of Tennessee Against Common Core. “It’s not what we want, but it’s more than we expected today. We’re very happy.”
“I’m for complete and unequivocal repeal of Common Core because it’s centralized education,” Carr told Breitbart News. “We need to get rid of the Department of Education. Education of children should be left up to parents and the states.”
“We don’t need a Common Core curriculum out of Washington, D.C., when D.C. doesn’t share our values,” he added.
Carr admitted, though, that if Tennessee’s state legislature attempted to repeal the standards now, “the bill would fail because of the fiscal note associated with it.”
“Let’s find a way to repeal the standards financially,” he said, referring to President Obama’s stimulus program, Race to the Top (RttT), which lured states into adopting the Common Core standards as “a Trojan horse.”
In a recent article published at Breitbart News, “How States and School Districts Can Opt Out of Common Core,” Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a nationally known academic standards expert, wrote:
If a state received RttT money and spent it, it most likely doesn’t have to pay it back if it now seeks to opt out of using Common Core’s standards (by any name) and any tests aligned to or based on these standards. Neither the RttT application nor the grant award from USED contained a repayment penalty for withdrawing from a commitment. Moreover, the Grant Award Notification from USED implied withholding of future RttT funds, not repayment of RttT funds already expended.
In other words, there seem to be no likely penalties if a state accepted a USED award of RttT funds and now chooses to withdraw from the agreement. States can justify their withdrawal on the grounds that the Common Core standards do not meet the original requirements of “common standards” outlined in the RttT application. These standards were supposed to be “supported by evidence that they are internationally benchmarked.” But they are not. The Common Core Validation Committee never received any evidence.
At a rally on March 12th, Carr told Tennessee citizens, “As a parent who homeschools his children for 15 years, I don’t need the state government or the federal government telling me what the curriculum ought to be.”
Carr said that Sen. Alexander believes in Common Core and centralization of education.
“He’s a big government Republican,” Carr told Breitbart News. “The only people I hear who are for Common Core are a few bureaucrats in the state education department, some local bureaucrats, and the Chamber of Commerce. Parents, teachers, and taxpayers don’t want Common Core.”
“When it comes down to it,” Carr said, “ObamaCare is the centralization of health care, and Common Core is the centralization of education. But they’re not really about health care or education. The goal is to take away our liberties and freedom.”