Standards, assessments to top governor's education focus next year, he says

Gov. Bill Haslam said he and his administration want to concentrate on higher standards and how to assess them, he told reporters Tuesday.

“I think what you’re going to see from us is more focus really on the higher standards,” Haslam said. “And then we’ll have some discussion about the whole assessment vehicle that we’re using about PARCC, or in delayed PARCC, and using TCAP another year."

The state had the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, PARCC, lined up for students to take in the Spring of 2015, but the legislature demanded the state put the exam out for bid as part of push back against the administration for its use of the politically touchy Common Core standards.

To the chagrin of the Haslam administration, the state now must wait until 2016 to offer a new test. The state put out a request for proposals last month.

"Whatever wins the RFP to be the new assessment vehicle, I think you’ll see some discussion about that,” Haslam said.

Meanwhile, the governor says he's also undecided whether to run a school voucher bill again next year.

Aug 5, 2014 2:25 PM

Conference committee rubber stamps one-year PARCC delay

A compromise by the House and Senate to put off a controversial exam aligned with a new set of education standards is on its way to the House and Senate floors.

The legislation was agreed upon with no discussion by three delegates from each chamber in the House Speaker’s ceremonial office. It would put off for one year the PARCC exam, known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness in College and Careers. It would also require the state to solicit bids for its next testing contract instead of adopting PARCC by default.

In the meantime, schools would continue to issue the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, known as TCAP, through the 2014-15 school year.

The new language is attached to a commonly agreed upon bill reigning in concerns over the Common Core education standards in how data is used and dispelling any belief the new standards are a directive from the national level.

Members of legislative leadership and the administration attempted to stave off harsher critics of the standards and new test and committee chairs sidelined bills going further. But opponents to Common Core rose up in the House earlier this session, believing that bill was not enough and a bipartisan band of lawmakers hijacked unrelated legislation and transformed it into a two-year delay in the PARCC exam and implementation of the education standards.

House Speaker Beth Harwell told reporters this month she would try to rectify the situation while keeping the measure under her control by taking a separate bill to a conference committee.

The administration went into this legislative session expecting pushback on the Common Core and the PARCC exam, but refused to give ground to critics.

Apr 15, 2014 6:08 PM