Gov. Haslam lobbying for Common Core - WKRN News 2

Gov. Haslam lobbies for Common Core education standards

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Governor Bill Haslam hit the road Wednesday to try and get the state's controversial Common Core education standards back on track with stops at schools in east, west and Middle Tennessee.

He began at Smyrna's Cedar Grove Elementary in suburban Rutherford County where he checked in to the school library about 7:45 a.m.

For about an hour, Mr. Haslam heard the voices from a handful of educators which included several teachers, principals and the county's schools director Don Odom.

They were supportive of the program which was slowed down last week by an overwhelming vote in the Tennessee House.

"The implementation of Common Core, it's what's best for our students," said Amy Gullion, who is an instruction coach at Cedar Grove. "We have already been implementing it, and the changes are huge. Our kids are being forced to think at a much deeper level."

"I have been fairly strong in my comments not to back up on Common Core," said the governor at the Cedar Grove Roundtable.

Mr. Haslam maintained that Tennessee is "making unprecedented gains in education and to turn around would be the wrong thing to do."

While there was nary a negative voice in the group before the governor, that was not the case as dozens of other teachers on spring break flocked to Tennessee's Capitol Hill to speak with lawmakers.

Wilson County math teacher Alan Chuipka told News 2, "[There's] too much testing and too little time."

In contrast to the group in Rutherford County with Governor Haslam,  Chuipka and most of the other teachers at the Capitol Tuesday were generally supportive of last week's House vote to suspend the implantation of Common Core and its testing for two years.

The Tennessee Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether or not it will agree with the House action.

Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey has indicated that he "doesn't think it's necessary" to slow Common Core down like the House has done.

A possible scenario is that the House action will be sent to Senate Finance Committee first before any consideration by the full body.  

The governor's quickly-scheduled school trips were just one of several efforts in the past 24-hours not to "slow down" Common Core.

School directors, like Mike Looney of Williamson County and Don Odom of Rutherford County, have both been writing letters to parents and lawmakers in support of the program.

Metro-Nashville Schools Director has made himself available for interviews to voice opposition to the House action.

Likewise for a business group called Expect More, Achieve More Coalition which brought four teachers from across the state to tell why they support Common Core.     

Early Tuesday evening, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Common Core supporter, met with members of the Senate Education Committee.

The son of one president, and brother to another, is in town for several events, including a conversation Wednesday afternoon on jobs and education with Governor Haslam and Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander.

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