“For some, this may be about a hot button issue like Common Core, but for me it is about the much larger picture, which includes a complete breakdown of leadership inside the Tennessee Department of Education,” says Rep. Tilman Goins (R-Morristown).
To many, it may have seemed innocuous enough– In 2011, Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed Kevin Huffman to head the Tennessee Department of Education. However, as Common Core began to reveal itself, many conservative state legislators dug into Huffman’s past and were not satisfied to learn that he had been heavily involved in campaigning for Common Core and was an avid supporter of President Obama’s.
Fast forward to March of this year when Republican presidential hopeful, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R) met with Haslam and Tennessee’s U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R) at an ‘invited media only’ (closed to the public) Common Core round table. Those invited media were all education reporters from around the country. The round table’s mission for invited media was simple– Use Republican leaders from around the country to prove that Common Core is a stunning success– Even in Republican states like Tennessee.
Conservative lawmakers were less than impressed with the closed-door meeting. In fact, many protested.