Now that the two largest school districts in Tennessee are asking Governor Haslam to put the TNReady testing on hold, we can’t ignore the broader impact it could have for this election year. Local 24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view.
It was not surprising to learn that the superintendents of Tennessee’s two largest school districts have zero confidence in the current statewide student testing program. What will be surprising is if the outgoing Haslam administration accomplishes anything in the way of a fix that will satisfy educators across the state or lawmakers for both parties.
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson and Metro Nashville Public Schools director Shawn Joseph are not bashful about their disgust with the TNReady online testing program. They took out those frustrations in a stern letter recently to Gov. Bill Haslam and Education commissioner Candace McQueen. The school leaders complained about having to spend millions of dollars on technology for testing that has been poorly administered three straight years.
They called for a halt to TNReady until the problems are resolved once and for all. That’s not going to happen. Instead, state education officials will give the current vendor, Questar, one more chance to get it right.
But this as much a political issue as an academic one. Haslam only has five months remaining in office. He has accomplished a lot as governor, but TNReady has been his albatross. And it’s highly doubtful that concerns about the testing program will be resolved before he leaves. Which means the next Governor, either Bill Lee or Karl Dean, will inherit the headache of getting high-stakes student testing straightened out.