Common Core data bill passes Senate 31-2

Common Core data bill passes Senate 31-2

March 18th, 2014 by Associated Press in Local Regional News

State Sen. Dolores Gresham

State Sen. Dolores Gresham

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Legislation that would require any data collected under Tennessee's Common Core standards only be used to track the academic progress and needs of students was approved by the Senate on Monday.

The bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Dolores Gresham of Somerville was approved 31-2. The House version was overwhelmingly approved 81-9 earlier this month.

The standards are intended to provide students with the critical thinking, problem solving and writing skills needed for college and the workforce. They have been voluntarily adopted by 45 states.

One of the main criticisms of the standards - developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers - is that they could lead to the sharing of personal student data with the federal government.

Gresham said the proposal is a result of concerns from parents and administrators about that possibility.

"Nobody wanted federal intrusion into our education system in Tennessee," she said. "This bill is in response to the people of Tennessee as they have made their wishes known."

The Senate vote was the latest action by lawmakers to place restrictions on the standards. Tennessee adopted them in 2010 and began a three-year phase-in the next year.

Last Thursday, the House passed a proposal to delay further implementation of the standards, even though Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and other supporters say they are key to Tennessee students' academic improvement.

Under the measure, implementation of the standards would be delayed for two years, and the testing component for the standards would also be delayed for two years.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said Monday evening that he doesn't agree with the House version, which could be taken up by the Senate as early as next week.

"I do think the horse is out of the barn, so to speak," the Blountville Republican said. "There are lots of things that have already happened in the state to just say we're going to put this off for two years."