April 16, 2014 - 15:13
Letters to the Editor
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Dear Editor:

On May 22, 2013 I sent my first correspondence to TN Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman regarding his stand on Common Core.   I invited Commissioner Huffman to debate the issue of Common Core with the opposition so both sides of the argument can be heard in front of the public.   The response from Commissioner Huffman (not sure who responded because there was no signature) stated, “We appreciate your interest in this issue, and believe that the state department has provided extensive factual information through many venues and will continue to do so in the future.”  I was sent (as is usual practice whenever you ask questions about CC) the usual list of “facts” about Common Core posted on state website.  
On May 23, 2013 I sent my response stating many of the facts in the posted document are not factual at all.  I also stated that if Mr. Huffman and his department had done such a stellar job at informing the public how is that the public knew nothing about Common Core?  How is it every elected official I met with during the last legislative session knew nothing at all about Common Core?  Who exactly did Commissioner Huffman and his team talk with?  Certainly he did not talk to the public or to the legislators.  I also stated to Commissioner Huffman that if he was sure of his facts and so convinced Common Core was right for Tennessee he should welcome the opportunity to debate his convictions in front of the public.  I again requested that Comm. Huffman face the public and defend his position and allow the opposition the right of full disclosure.  In my opinion only a person that is not being forthcoming would avoid a public debate of the facts.  
As of June 10, 2013, Comm. Huffman has ignored all subsequent emails and follow-up emails.  I have proof that his office has opened all subsequent emails and follow-ups.  One can only assume he has no interest in speaking to the public.  This is what happens when unelected bureaucrats are given power over the people.  
It is time we stand up and demand a repeal of Common Core.  It is also time we demand that ALL state school board positions are elected positions not appointed positions (this includes the position of Commissioner).  When our state Board of Education makes a bad decision for Tennessee children we have no recourse when they are appointed.  Unelected bureaucrats undermine the authority of the people.  This is also the problem with Charter Schools.  And someday when Charter Schools replace public schools parents will have no voice.  Charter Schools do not have elected school boards.  Corporations can own Charter Schools.  What would stop them from retrofitting our children to fill their workforce needs in the future?  Do you feel as uneasy about this as I do?  You should.  Charter Schools are not the answer to our education problem and neither is Common Core.  They will someday become the problem.  When you give authority and power to unelected bureaucrats you give away your parental control.  

Karen Bracken
Ocoee, Tennessee

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