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Lakeland School District passes resolution against Common Core

The Lakeland school board voted to pass a resolution against the Common Core State Standards Monday night.

The board’s vote is the latest in a mounting offensive from politicians and some school boards against the Common Core State Standards. A resolution is also against the standards is also up for vote in Williamson County. The Williamson County school board applied to create their own standards; the state department of education responded that although standards are set by the state, all districts have the flexibility to exceed those standards. Standards are under the purview of the State Board of Education, while instructional materials and curricula are under controlled locally.

Both Williamson County and Lakeland are affluent, suburban school districts that skew politically conservative.

Lakeland’s resolution asks that the state Department of Education repeal the Common Core State Standards “in favor of new, rigorous standards and assessments created for Tennessee students to be developed with the input Tennessee educators, school boards, and community members.”

As little as a year ago, the prospect of the state moving away from the Common Core, which Tennessee and most other states adopted in 2010, seemed far-fetched. But recently, even the standards’ advocates, like Gov. Bill Haslam and Speaker Beth Harwell, have distanced themselves from the standards. A Vanderbilt University survey also suggested Tennessee teachers were less enthusiastic about the standards than in years past.

The standards were developed with input from educators across the country, including Tennessee, and have been endorsed — although are not required — by the Obama administration, a sticking point for many of its detractors.

But, although much of the criticism of the standards has been launched by conservative Republican legislators, division over the standards isn’t partisan. Many of its prominent supporters in the state are Republicans who believe that the standards are the best way to prepare Tennesseans for college and careers; likewise, many of its detractors oppose the standards because they believe them to be confusing or developmentally inappropriate for students, and not on political grounds.

Read the resolution in full here, and the state’s response to Williamson County’s request to create new standards here.

Correction: This article was updated to reflect that Williamson County’s resolution has not yet been voted on, and to include the state’s response to Williamson County’s request for a waiver for the Common Core State Standards.