Haslam Bracing for Common Core Fight



A two-day legislative hearing examining the new and controversial Common Core education standards will be good for state lawmakers, said Gov. Bill Haslam.

The state Senate Education Committee will meet for two days — beginning today — to review the new standards to be used across the country that shift from memorization skills to analytical thinking. While Haslam and his administration support Common Core, the standards have attracted concern ranging from nationalizing education to too much reliance on state tests.

“I don’t know it’s going to be necessarily a fight in the sense of a bare knuckle deal, but obviously there are people with opinions about it,” Haslam told reporters Wednesday.

“With Common Core, we’ve understood from the beginning that some people had some questions about it. I actually think the hearings tomorrow and Friday will be a great way to get a lot of things on the table so people can understand what they are and what they’re not,” he continued.

Haslam said he is not worried that debate over Common Core could overshadow his own agenda which promises to include efforts to support his “Drive to 55” post-secondary degree attainment goals and likely a pick up of this year’s failed effort to issue students taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private schools.

“It’d be really nice if the only thing that was being talked about were our issues. Well, maybe it wouldn’t,” laughed Haslam. “Maybe I wouldn’t like that.”

Critics, particularly among tea party-types, have been railing on Common Core for months.

In an address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Haslam hinted that he is bracing for “a real battle” on new Common Core education standards, saying “you have folks on the far right who you hear it’s ‘Obama-core’ and all the stories out there about what Common Core is. And then you have folks on the far left who don’t like the fact that teacher evaluations are being tied to students’ test scores. So, you have this fairly unique pushing coming from both ends.”

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