Two bills introduced in the Tennessee state House and Senate would kick the national Common Core State Standards out of the State’s classrooms, effectively nullifying its implementation.

Senate Bill 4 (SB4) was filed jointly by Sen. Delores Gresham, R-Somerville, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, while a similar bill, House Bill 3 (HB3), was filed by Rep. John Forgety, R-Athens.

If passed, the Senate bill would have the nine-member Tennessee Standards Commission include appointees from the governor, House speaker and lieutenant governor. Members would serve six-year terms and require confirmation from the Tennessee General Assembly. The commission would hold a series of public meetings for input on standards.

HB3, in addition to stopping Common Core standards, would also create teams of educators to review and recommend “Volunteer State Standards” for K-12 for English language arts and mathematics, which would be adopted by July 2016.

The two bills, both filed Monday, are in contrast to the approach taken by Gov. Bill Haslam, who has allowed Common Core standards to be implemented, albeit he has called for a public review in face of their increasing criticism.

These bills represent another attempt to get rid of Common Core in Tennessee after multiple bills were stalled during the last legislative session. This time, however, these bills are being pushed by Republican leaders, whereas before they were the product of Tea Party lawmakers. Gresham is the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, while Bell is the chairman of the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Incidentally, these bills were introduced after Kevin Huffman, the state’s education commissioner, announced he would be leaving office. He had been previously criticized for not stopping the implementation of Common Core Standards.

The Constitution is very clear on this issue. The feds have no business meddling in classrooms across the country. While we’re not exactly enthusiastic about the state getting involved in education, they are not prohibited by the Constitution to do so, and it is far better than allowing D.C. to dictate what is taught to children thousands of miles away without any practical means of seeking redress.

Rejecting nationalized education standards is the first steps toward bringing true academic choice, and freedom.  Passage of this legislation would represent a positive step forward for the people of Tennessee and a path for other states to follow.


1. Contact your state representative, and encourage them to support the bill. Contact info here:

2. Contact the speaker of the Tennessee state House, Rep. Beth Harwell. (615) 741-0709). Politely, but firmly, let her know that you want to see this bill get a debate and vote on the house floor.

3. Contact any local or state grassroots groups you know of and ask them to help spread the word about this bill.

4. Share this information by email and social media.

For Other States: Contact your state legislators and demand that they introduce legislation similar to SB4 and HB3.

TJ Martinell

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