Local lawmakers introduce bill encouraging education dept. to allow state colleges to create standardized tests, replace TNReady

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Two local lawmakers have filed a bill encouraging the state to consider having Tennessee colleges and universities create and administer standardized tests in lieu of TNReady.

HB 2299 and SB 2227 discourages the Tennessee Department of Education from contracting with a private vendor and encourages and authorizes the department to select one or more public four-year post-secondary institutions located in the state for the provision of the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP) tests for students in grades 3-12.

The bill would also require the state department of education to develop an application, timeline and process for selecting an institution to provide TCAP tests.

The two lawmakers are Senator Rusty Crowe of Johnson City and Representative Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough.

Sen. Crowe told News Channel 11’s Blake Lipton this would be an effective way to keep testing and funds in-state.

“We’re just concerned that these companies are many times owned by out of country entities, out of state entities obviously,” said Sen. Crowe, “sometimes by very liberal groups that they are involved with and they just haven’t had a good track record with our testing.”

Crowe also said keeping the test in-state would also keep money from going to an outside source.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “Let’s keep those dollars in Tennessee and let our own universities system take care of this testing like they used to.”

Towne Acres Elementary School Principal Dr. Josh Simmons has been involved with TN Ready since it’s inception. He said the school is happy with the system currently in place.

“Having something like TNReady, it allows us to look and make sure we are doing the job, make sure there is return on the investment the state is spending on education,” said Dr. Simmons.

One down side Simmons has seen with TNReady is how long it takes the school to receive test results.

“We want to be able to use whatever the results are to impact our teaching,” he said, “and when you can’t get those results in until, sometimes August or September, as far as the whole gamut of data, it makes it hard to develop professional development activities and things like that during the summer.”

The bill needs interest from the university systems and approval from the Commissioner of Education and education committee members.

“It would be a very tough situation,” said Sen. Crowe, “right now, we have a contract with Pearson, so it would have to be after that contract is finalized or if Pearson were to be in a situation like the last company we had that couldn’t provide the testing successfully, then we might be able to do something, but right now it’s just a suggestion.”

Pearson was chosen as the administrator for TNReady back in May.

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