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Bill Introduced This Session Expands Ban On Common Core Materials From Being Used In Tennessee Schools

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –

The state of Tennessee was supposed to have effectively dropped Common Core curriculum for Math and English, back in 2021.

A law was implemented that year that officially banned textbooks and instructional materials created to “align exclusively with Common Core, or marketed as such”. 

However, this session, lawmakers are endeavoring to remove all vestiges of Common Core by changing the language in that 2021 legislation and remove words that would only relate specifically to materials that are “exclusively” meant to be used with common core standards. 

The new law removes that exclusivity and expands to any materials that simply have any kind of alignment, association with or derivation from Common Core. 

House Bill 1724 (HB1724) states, “Education – As introduced, expands the category of textbooks and instructional materials that are prohibited from use in a public school in this state from those created to align exclusively with the Common Core State Standards to those that are aligned to, associated with, or derived from the Common Core State Standards. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6.” 

The bill is being sponsored by Representative Ron Gant (R-D94-Piperton) and State Senator Page Walley (R-D26-Savannah) with Senate Bill 1696

State funds could be withheld from any district in which a teacher intentionally violates the ban. The 2021 law was implemented to close a loophole in the event that teachers might still be using Common Core materials. 

The change in the language indicates that lawmakers feel it necessary to go to more extraordinary lengths to be sure that the state is indeed purged of all materials that have any relationship with Common Core.

An academic article from 2020 expresses what has become a common response when educators have been asked about Common Core and its effect on education as a whole from the time it was implemented in 2010:

“Despite the fact that Common Core enjoyed the bipartisan support of policy elites and commanded vast financial resources from both public and private sources, it simply did not accomplish what its supporters had intended. The standards wasted both time and money and diverted those resources away from more promising pursuits.” 

The Tennessee Conservative reached out to local educators to ask about the removal of these materials, and how realistically more legislation will enable the state to do a clean sweep of this type of curriculum. 

The response was that because of the uniformity among publishers in the education materials industry, those that have the capacity to service large school districts like MNPS, Williamson or Shelby County, have the concepts of Common Core so firmly embedded, that putting the burden on the educators to avoid it would be an unrealistic expectation. 

Publishers have simply removed the labels that market the materials as being “Common Core Aligned” without substantially altering the content. 

The top six largest publishers of school curriculum currently are McGraw Hill, Pearson, MacMillan Learning, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Penguin Random House, And Wiley. 

According to the state website, some of the materials that are currently in use come from two of the publishers on that list. 

Since its inception, Common Core was initially adopted by 41 out of 50 states, about 4 states never having adopted it, and several of the 41 who did on some level, dropping it one state at a time. 

Assessing which states and to what degree those states are still utilizing common core is very difficult, according to this article, because, “many of the states who have “repealed” the standards have adopted their own, which are still in accord with the standards, and thus the relationship between the state and Common Core is extremely convoluted. It seems its fate in most states is no longer of interest to most people.”

If this is the case in Tennessee, then adopting “state standards” that might look substantively like Common Core standards, only gives the illusion that Common Core has been dropped, and in exchange, just adopting something else that is nearly the same and giving it another name. 

Input from local educators supported by research, conveys the reality that unless the largest publishers of the materials currently supplied to school districts nationwide are somehow compelled to remove the concepts that make up the essence of Common Core (for example, Social Emotional Learning), ridding our schools of it entirely isn’t a realistic endeavor.  

With the initial efforts to lose Common Core in Tennessee which began in 2014, and then actually gained traction by 2017, with follow up legislation in 2021, and now with this new bill in 2024, it seems there is still much more to do to completely remove all traces of what has been characterized as a “spectacular flop” in the education of America’s children. 

We will continue to follow the progress of this bill as it makes its way through the legislative process and report any new developments. 

About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member.  Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at

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