In his first official act as governor, Bill Haslam issued an executive order (similar to those Obama likes so much) that hid his taxes from public view — he first governor in modern times to do so.
Then it was revealed Haslam had secretly been paying his lobbyist/political consultant, Tom Ingram, thousands of dollars under the table. He said the payments came from his “personal” funds, although he has kept secret any records that would back up his claim.
After he was rebuked by the legislature over Common Core testing this past spring, Haslam quietly withdrew the state from the PARCC testing consortium, without informing the legislature until after the fact.
Last month, Haslam secretly made a business trip to Asia, instructing his office to refuse to answer questions as to the governor’s destination or purpose. It turned out he was not “Hiking the Appalachian Trail” like former So Carolina governor Mark Sanford did, which undoubtedly came as a relief to his wife, Chrissy.
Then earlier this week, RTP and others revealed that Haslam has embarked on a series of secret meetings around the state, meeting with hand-picked educators, most of whom are supporters of his Common Core agenda. The governor went so far as to specifically exclude county school board members, — the very people elected as education representatives.
Now comes the word that the state’s TCAP scores have been secretly embargoed by the governor. Administrators and teachers were allowed to look at their own individual units of responsibility, but were not given other districts’ scores for comparison and have been instructed not to discuss the scores with the media. Cynics predict the governor will release the scores the day schools start, hoping the negative publicity will be muted.
Keep in mind these were the same TCAP scores that were mismanaged by Commissioner Kevin “IVFO” Huffman and which were delayed in apparent violation of the statutory requirements for time and content, not to mention suspicions that the scores were manipulated because of the bad results.
In an example provided to RTP, the test results have reportedly resulted in upwards of 80% of 6th grade ELA (English and Language Arts) teachers being rated in the RED category, which means “highly insufficient” ratings. By any measure, that would be a disaster.
Remember now, this is the same gang of miscreants who claimed earlier this year that the NAEP test scores which showed 3rd-8th graders receiving better scores than Tennessee high school students was “because they [high schoolers] had not had the advantage of as much Common Core instruction” as that received by 3rd and 8th grade students. Lucky high schoolers.
This leads to the question as to whether “Republican” Gov. Bill Haslam has a freakin’ clue as to the turmoil and damage he is creating in our public schools. Does he know? Does he care?
Even if we knew we couldn’t tell you.
It’s a secret.