published Thursday, June 19th, 2014

State Rep. Joe Carr joins in letter demanding Haslam get rid of education commissioner

NASHVILLE — State Rep. Joe Carr, a GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, has joined with 13 other Republican colleagues in the Legislature in a letter demanding Republican Gov. Bill Haslam force Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to resign.

The issue is the state's Common Core curriculum standards as well as related testing for K-12 students.

"It is the general consensus of the undersigned that Commissioner Huffman has overstepped his authority and has failed to serve in the best interest of the citizens of this state," the letter says. "Anything short of his immediate removal from office will be unacceptable."

The roster of Republican lawmakers signing the letter includes a number of Tea Party Republicans, including Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma.

In a news release, Carr said that "due to Commissioner Huffman’s failed leadership at the Tennessee Department of Education, teacher morale continues to decline with the continued uncertainty and ever changing expectations in the classroom.

Moreover, he contended, Huffman "has failed to address the growing skepticism by teachers and parents by insisting on the complete adoption and implementation of Common Core."

He said that, instead of fixing "errors" with the program, Huffman "has apparently violated Tennessee state law in delaying the reporting of student test scores.”

Common Core came under attack in this year's General Assembly, primarily from tea party and social conservative Republicans, although Democrats joined in the fray for reasons of their own.

The end result was a law delaying implementation of Common Core-related testing and a requirement the state rebid the testing. The original proposal called for a two-year delay, but Haslam, while defending Huffman and Common Core, compromised on a one-year delay.

In his news release, Carr called on Huffman to resign, a move made by a few other legislators.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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