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Williamson County gears up for Common Core battle

School board members in Williamson County, a wealthy, high-performing district outside of Nashville, are drafting a resolution in opposition to the Common Core State Standards, the Tennessean reports.

The resolution comes as a debate brews among state legislators over the standards, which opponents say limit local control of education. An early draft of the board’s resolution condemned the math and language arts standards as “un-American,” the Tennessean reported. They plan to draft a resolution that has the whole support of the board at their Oct. 6 meeting.

They do not intend the resolution to be a directive for teachers to stop teaching the standards, members said.

Several of the newest board members ran on anti-Common Core platforms, although standards are actually determined by the state board of education, not local districts.

“Our constituents expect to do this quickly because it became a very big issue during the election,” Beth Burgos, a recently elected school board member said.

The state fully implemented the standards last year, the second time state teachers’ completed a transitioned to new standards in five years. The standards were developed by a consortia of more than 40 states, although several states have pulled the standards in recent years. The Tennessean refers to the standards as “federal standards,” but they were not created by the federal government, nor are they required by the government, although U.S. Department of Education officials have been vocal in their support for them.

The dialogue at an education forum convened by Gov. Bill Haslam last week suggested that several legislators hope to replace the standards with standards tailored specifically to Tennessee. Their concerns — that the Common Core standards don’t allow for enough local control of education — mirror concerns in Williamson County.

Although local school boards do not have the ability to choose academic standards, which dictate what skills students learn in each grade level, they can decide on curricula and textbooks. Two years ago, some Williamson County residents protested an inclusion of a social studies book on the state-approved list that they said was biased and “anti-Western,” the Tennessean reported.

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