U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will appear with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Gov. Bill Haslam (R-TN) Wednesday at an education roundtable discussion sponsored by pro-Common Core Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tennessee Business Roundtable.
A press release by the election campaign of Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr (R), who is challenging Alexander in his reelection bid, announced the fact that Alexander will join Bush and Haslam in support of the Common Core.
The roundtable event comes in the midst of a fierce battle waged by Carr and other conservatives in the Tennessee state legislature to roll back the Common Core standards.
On March 15th, Breitbart News reported on the battle in the state House that resulted in an 82-11 vote to delay the controversial standards for two years.
The vote was a rebuke of Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, who have argued that Tennessee must move forward with the Common Core standards in order to keep up with other states. Haslam told state lawmakers that a repeal or delay of the standards “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.”
Two days after the state House’s vote, Williamson County Schools Director Dr. Mike Looney tweeted a comment that referred to Common Core opponents as “irrational.”
Trying to be rational with irrational people…TN has spent close to a BILLION Dollars preparing for CCSS. Think it is a little late now?
— Dr. Mike Looney (@wcsDirofSchools) March 16, 2014
The state’s Senate was less sweeping in its condemnation of Common Core.
As the Tennessean reports, on Monday the state Senate expressed the state’s sovereignty over education standards, its desire to ensure data collected about students is not shared, and an overhaul of the state’s textbook commission. In addition, SB 1835 would require public notices and hearings in the Senate and House before adopting the science and social studies standards.
Senate leader Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R), however, has no interest in delaying the Common Core standards.
“I do think the horse is out of the barn, so to speak,” Ramsey said Monday. “We’ve trained 100,000 teachers. There’s lots of things that have already happened in this state to just say we’re going to put this off for two years.”
Common Core supporter Haslam plans to speak at other events around the state to promote the standards.
Nevertheless, Carr sees the issue of the Common Core standards as way for conservatives to sharply differentiate themselves from establishment, big government Republicans.
“The tide is beginning to turn against Common Core in Tennessee and it was my hope that Senator Alexander would join conservatives and help us work to defeat it,” Carr said. “Instead, it appears Senator Alexander is once again joining with the political establishment, this time fighting to save Common Core. Senator Alexander’s actions are disappointing, but not surprising.”