By Maria Giordona, The Tennessean
FRANKLIN - Conservatives came from far and wide
Tuesday night to rail against Common Core standards, calling them
academically weak and a threat to parents' control over their children's
More than 400 parents, community members and
out-of-town guests gathered in the Cool Springs Embassy Suites for a
second round of panel discussions on the standards, adopted here and in
44 states for what children are expected to know as they progress
Kevin Kookogey, who led the "Confronting Common
Core" event, entered to Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall." Other
speakers included Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute, Bill Evers of the
Hoover Institution, Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation, and Emmet
McGroarty and Jane Robbins, both of the American Principles Project.
Sewell, a member of Alabamians United for Excellence in Education,
drove from Alabama for the event. She said the standards invade privacy,
take away local control and impose an unfair burden on taxpayers, and
that she is fighting to have the standards repealed in her home state.
"We want this stopped," she said. "Alabama stands with Tennesee."
of Common Core accuse the Obama administration of dangling billions of
dollars in Race to the Top funds to get states to sign on to its notion
of what children should be learning. The opponents say that, rather than
raise student achievement and accountability, it dumbs down academics
and leads to data-mining of student information.
was billed as part of an effort to "address the federal government's
overreach into state and local education in Tennessee."
Some parents angry
Some of the fervor surfaced during a Common Core meeting Monday at
The People's Church in Franklin. The meeting filled up two weeks after
organizers posted an online invitation.
At Monday's meeting, in
which the standards were presented by Jamie Woodson, president of the
State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Tennessee Education
Commissioner Kevin Huffman and county schools' Superintendent Mike
Looney, many parents and community members wore anti-Common Core
stickers and were angered by the question-and-answer format.
had parents write their questions on index cards rather than pass
around a microphone. More than 400 people attended that event, which was
to be an opportunity to learn more about the Common Core standards.
recounted how the state in 2009 came to adopt the Common Core Standards
initiative, which was due in part because the state received an "F" in
2007 for truth in advertising about student proficiency.
were rated as proficient in math and reading based on assessments, but
in actuality were behind in comparison to other students nationally.
Tennessee is ranked No. 46 in the nation in math and 41st in reading.
the state created the Tennessee Diploma Project to help align
Tennessee's education standards for success in college and the
workplace. Woodson repeatedly said that the state has led its own reform
efforts, and is a founding member of the Partnership for the Assessment
of Readiness of College and Career, or PARCC. There are 22 states in
this consortium, including Massachusetts and Maryland, both states
considered high achieving, Huffman said.
The standards have
already been implemented throughout Tennessee. Students in kindergarten
through second grade began using them in 2011-12.
County, along with many other districts, implemented the math common
core standards in grades 3-8 this school year. All districts will
implement math and reading common core standards by 2014-15. In those
subject areas only, students will take what will be called online PARCC
assessments. They will continue to take the TCAP for social studies and