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TN Attorney General: Huffman did not break laws with TCAP waivers

Education commissioner Kevin Huffman was not in violation of state law when he waived a requirement for school districts to use TCAP scores in final grades,  according to an opinion released last Wednesday by state attorney general Robert Cooper. Nor were the integrity of the TCAP results compromised by the scoring delay that caused Huffman to waive the requirement, Cooper said in the opinion.

Last month, a group of Republican legislators wrote a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam that accused Huffman of violating a law that prohibits the state government from waiving any policy pertaining to student accountability. They also called for Huffman’s resignation, and suggested that the TCAP scores might have been manipulated. Huffman and Haslam quickly released a statement of fact rebutting their claims. Cooper’s opinion supported their statement:

The TCAP examinations themselves, in turn, cannot be waived because the state’s assessment and accountability programs rest primarily upon the results of those tests. Students’ final course grades, on the other hand, do not play a role in the state’s student assessment or school accountability efforts.

The department of education released statewide TCAP results last week, demonstrating improvement on the high school level, and a flattening out for elementary and school students. District-wide and school results will be released within the next month.