Shelbyville Times-Gazette put all other newspapers to shame with their reporting and analysis of the TCAP fiasco. Read the whole thing at the Times-Gazette. Here are some excerpts:
Reactions were swift in coming from politicians and others who have been following the TCAP delay issue.
Tennessee Sen. Mae Beavers said she asked the state attorney general on Friday for his opinion of the TCAP delay and the potential changing of test scores. She has not yet heard back.
“I think the law is pretty clear on what they’re supposed to be doing, and anybody who messes with the scores should lose their job,” Beavers, a Mount Juliet Republican, said.
One political consultant/attorney, Steve Gill of Gill Media, also questioned whether the department has the legal authority to waive state law. Tennessee Code Annotated 49-1-617 requires TCAP scores to be included in students’ grades, he said. State law also prohibits changing test scores, he said.
“They have the scores; they don’t like the scores,” he said. “That’s not grounds to change them or to waive the school districts from complying with state law because the commissioner of education doesn’t like the way they turn out.”
J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a teacher advocacy group, called for an investigation of the TCAP issue. Many of the school districts that did not request a waiver will have to recall teachers this summer to work on grades, at a cost of “thousands of dollars,” he said.
“People make mistakes, and this is understandable. However, this was a real debacle. My initial reaction is that Ms. (Erin) O’Hara needs to answer question before the Tennessee General Assembly on this matter, and the public deserves to know who the external experts involved in this process were, and the cost to the state and districts.”
O’Hara, assistant commissioner for data and research, sent a letter to superintendents last week informing them of the TCAP delay:
David Cook, a columnist for the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, in a column written prior to release of the scores, called on Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman to resign.
“After having months to prepare — our state can’t finalize test scores in time? Our state can’t ship test results back to schools before report cards go home for summer break?” Cook wrote. “It is a bureaucratic collapse, an embarrassment to the look-at-our-Tennessee-miracle narrative that school officials keep trying to tell the rest of America.”