- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Records show a new group with ties to Gov. Bill Haslam has spent more than $100,000 defending his position on maintaining Tennessee’s current education standards.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1G87kxr) cited television station filings with the Federal Communications Commission in reporting that Tennesseans for Student Success has spent $137,000 since Dec. 29 to broadcast a 30-second spot in the Nashville and Knoxville media markets.

The spot features teachers and parents saying they support the state’s Common Core standards, and they are being played as some state lawmakers are pushing to roll back or replace the standards.

The newspaper reports the nonprofit group is headed by Jeremy Harrell, who served as Haslam’s campaign manager in 2014.

Harrell said the group’s purpose is “to protect the gains made in public education throughout Tennessee.”

“The education gains we’ve made in recent years are worth celebrating, worth defending and worth continuing,” he added.

According to Harrell, the group has run cable and radio ads “in all major markets” including Chattanooga, Memphis and the Tri-Cities. He didn’t say how much it spent on those ads.

Haslam spokesman David Smith, when asked if the governor sanctions the group’s activities, said through email that “Tennesseans for Student Success is an independent organization that supports continued education gains in Tennessee.”

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com


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