- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A special committee of lawmakers on Tuesday recommended that the testing component of Tennessee’s Common Core education standards be delayed for one year.

The House and Senate will now vote whether to accept the conference committee report before it heads to the desk of the governor, who has said he’d rather not delay the testing.

Last month, a broad coalition of Republican and Democratic House members passed a bill that sought to delay further implementation of the new standards for two years. It also sought to delay the testing component for the standards for the same amount of time.

The committee’s proposal would only affect the testing component.

Currently, the tests developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers are scheduled to begin statewide in the school year that begins in August.

Under the committee’s proposal, the state Department of Education would put out a “request for proposals” for alternate testing. The state’s current testing program, known as TCAP, would continue in the interim.

Opponents of PARCC in particular say its implementation is being rushed and that it needs further study.

“These … bills were in response to our constituents’ concerns,” said committee member Sen. Dolores Gresham, a Somerville Republican and chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee.

Tea party-aligned officials and candidates want to delay the standards or abandon them altogether in at least a dozen of the 45 states that adopted some part of the guidelines. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence last month signed the first Common Core repeal to make it through a legislature.

In Tennessee, proposals to do away with the standards and their assessment component failed in a House subcommittee last month. Tennessee adopted the standards in 2010 and began a three-year phase-in the following year.

Haslam is among supporters who say the standards - developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers - are needed to better prepare students for the future. They’re intended to provide students with the critical thinking, problem solving and writing skills needed for college and the workforce.

“I do think this is really important for Tennessee,” Haslam recently told reporters after a speech.

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