Businesses Form New Group To Lobby In Support Of Common Core
by Aundrea Cline-Thomas
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Businesses leaders are calling Common Core the number one legislative issue.
"All of us today need better skilled workers," Gordon Fee of Fee Henderick Entertainment said while flanked by fellow business leaders during a press conference in Legislative Plaza.
Business leaders across the state have banded together to create a new group called "Businesses for Tennessee Prosperity." Tennessee has joined at least 45 other states to implement Common Core. It creates higher standards aimed at fostering more critical thinking and problem solving skills.
"We're having trouble attracting the type of world class employees we need to compete," Clay Thompson, President, Caterpillar, Inc. Insurance Services added.
"When we began to hear some of the concerns about Common Core over the summer," Ralph Schulz, President & CEO, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce said, "it was important then to start preparing for this effort."
Teachers have been trained on the new expectations, parents have been notified and implementation is already underway.
"I think there are a lot of problems with Common Core…it has not been tested," parent Steve Gill explained. "It has not been proven anywhere"
Still, concerned parents have started their own grassroots efforts in opposition.
"We're going to be wasting a lot of money on more expensive testing that's not going to advance the education of our kids," Gill added.
This year the PARCC assessments will replace TCAP exams and cost the state at least $5 million more. More money is also being spent on new textbooks that better align with the standards. However some parents take issue with the choices saying some of the passages are inaccurate or even offensive.
"So what we're urging the legislature to do is to put it on pause," Gill stressed.
But business leaders are adopting the slogan "Stay the Course on Education" when referring to Common Core.
"It's really critical both to the future of our children and to our economic prosperity here in Tennessee," Thompson said
Already Business for Tennessee Prosperity is backing up its support by raising between $50,000 to $100,000 to fund advertising and lobbying efforts.
"As we see an opportunity," Schulz said, "we'll raise the money to fund it."