Tennessee phases out Common Core

Tennessee's State Board of Education has recently adopted new math and English standards.
↓ Advertisement ↓

State education officials approved new English and math standards Friday, marking the symbolic end of controversial Common Core standards in Tennessee.

Tennessee is the latest state to phase out Common Core, joining Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina.  Like its predecessors, Tennessee'sEnglish and math standards have a new name, but still have roots in Common Core.

Common Core standards ignited a political brawl last year when state lawmakers, who saw the standards as federal overreach, pushed to scrap them. In response to cries for state-specific standards, Gov. Bill Haslam authorized a review of the state's English and math standards.

The state developed a more rigorous review process to assess the standards, including two online public reviews, educator review and legislative input. The review process took almost two years.

↓ Advertisement ↓

"We started with the current state standards. From there we executed an unprecedented transparent, comprehensive review and replacement process," State Board of Education Executive Director Sara Heyburn said.

"The results were a set of new, Tennessee-specific standards brought to us by the Standards Recommendation Committee, whose members were appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the House of Representatives and confirmed by the General Assembly," Heyburn said.

Standards set grade- and subject-specific goals in the classroom.

The state's new standards, known as Tennessee Academic Standards, clarify the progression of standards and clarify glossary definitions of math and English standards. In math, additional clarification was added to  standards regarding math formulas and several bridge math standards were eliminated to further narrow the course content.

Tennessee adopted Common Core in 2010 with little controversy as part of the state's application to the Race to the Top federal funding. Common Core was created by the National Governors Association to ensure all students graduate with the same skills, no matter the state they live.

A total of 45 states adopted Common Core, and several states have either dropped the standards or are in the process of reviewing them.  Tennessee's new state test, TNReady, is still aligned to Common Core standards.

“Tennessee’s new Academic Standards for math and ELA are comprehensive, rigorous and a step forward for Tennessee students,” said Fielding Rolston, State Board of Education chairman, in a news release. “We are very grateful to all of the parents, teachers, and leaders who took part in the public review process to help create these new standards.”

Schools will implement the Tennessee Academic Standards for mathematics and English language arts in the 2017-18 school year. The State Board of Education will work with the state Department of Education for education training and implementation, Heyburn said.

The State Board of Education is currently leading reviews of the state's social studies and science standards.

Reach Melanie Balakit at 615-926-1638 and on Twitter @MelanieBalakit.