Compromise for the Common Core Standards in Tennessee

Adopted July 30, 2010 and fully implemented during the 2013-2014 school year, the Common Core in Tennessee has seen the typical back and forth. Yet in among the argued positives and negatives, many teachers are standing strong on behalf of the core, not seeing it as a federal takeover so much as an improvement in the quality of education they can offer their students.

Survey Positivity

Four years after adoption, the Tennessee Consortium on Research, Evaluation and Development pieced together information gleaned from their third annual First to the Top Survey. It collected information from almost 28,000 educators around the state regarding the Core’s potential to impact learning as well as their thoughts about the change in general. After results were tallied, it showed that Tennessee teachers strongly stand behind the benefits of Common Core. While more guidance is necessary, the majority see it as a way to improve their quality of teaching thereby improving their students’ learning.

Privacy Issues

While the occasional bill to repeal Common Core has arisen, the Governor has been quick to swipe these aside, stating Common Core as the reason behind Tennessee’s incredible academic improvement over these last few years. However, more pertinent are the reporting requirements. With the new standards comes a new way student progress has to be measured, namely through an online database. This has raised concerns of the government using the data to compile a student database for every single student in America. US Education Secretary Arne Duncan was quick to respond this was not the government’s intention, and it is illegal to even do so. Even still, with the NSA still illegally collecting the data of America’s citizens, it’s hard to take his word at face value.

In the meantime, Tennessee is working around this matter by discussing various ways to tackle the privacy issue as best as possible. While no answers have arisen yet, the state is positive it can come up with a solution to protect its students while still taking advantage of the positive change spurred on by the new standards.

Core Future

As of now, the Core will remain in Tennessee. Even the Governor stands behind their proven effectiveness and is not aiming to strip the students of something that has been benefitting them. Opponents still rise, calling for a complete repeal in order to get the government out of their school system, but after five years of working with the program, it’s clear to the actual educators that the standards are not a federal scheme to undermine the power of the individual states. They are more challenging standards that ask the children to think for themselves and to analyze decisions to better understand how they come to specific conclusions—a talent many adults would be better off knowing how to do themselves.