Embattled Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman gets support

Embattled Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman gets support

July 9th, 2014 by Associated Press in Local Regional News

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman speaks to the Senate Education Committee about common core standards during a hearing last September in Nashville.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman is getting some support amid criticism of his leadership.

The Tennessean reports that an online petition with more than 300 signatures as of Monday lauds the leadership of the embattled commissioner.

Last month, a letter signed by 15 Republican lawmakers demanded the resignation of Huffman, citing complaints from school administrators, teachers and students about Huffman's leadership style as his department implements a series of changes in K-12 education.

That letter followed a petition signed by nearly half of the state's superintendents last year who argued that the commissioner had "no interest in a dialogue" with local school leaders as he made policy changes.

One of the more controversial proposals sought to allow student growth on tests to be used to revoke or not renew a teacher's license. However, state lawmakers during the last session passed legislation against the measure, and the State Board of Education recently followed through on that directive.

As for the online petition, the general consensus is that under Huffman's leadership Tennessee is the fastest improving state in the country in education.

"Improving schools is hard but important work," the petition reads. "As a result of Commissioner Huffman's efforts, our state is deeply involved in conversations about fostering innovation and improvement for the sake of all children in Tennessee."

Huffman has called accusations made by the group of lawmakers "disappointing" and the letter distracting.

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