Crowe takes issue with TSS ‘Legislative Scorecard’ rating

Published 5:00 pm Monday, October 30, 2017

One local lawmaker has taken issue with the findings of a “Legislative Scorecard” recently released by a non-profit group focused on education.

Last week, the state-wide non-profit organization Tennesseans for Student Success released a report with their “grades” for members of the Tennessee General Assembly based on how they voted on pieces of legislation the group either supported or opposed.

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According to information provided by TSS, the agency calculated the legislators’ scores by looking at their voting records when dealing with education issues. The agency tracks not only votes on the floor of the Tennessee House and Senate, but also votes cast in committees on the proposed bills.

State Senator Rusty Crowe, who represents a portion of Carter County, was given a grade of “C” by the agency with an overall score of 78 compared to the Senate’s average score of 90.

In the area of standards and accountability, the agency gave Crowe a score of 100 in both of those areas. However, the agency scored him a 0 for the public school choice standard, citing his votes in both the Education Committee and on the Senate Floor against the Tennessee High-Quality Charter Schools Act. The Act was drafted to ensure a transparent process for charter school accountability. The bill passed both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly and was signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam in May.

Following the release of the report, Crowe spoke with the Elizabethton Star regarding his grade, saying in his opinion the grade “didn’t make sense” based on his voting record on education issues.

“I have been, and will continue to be a strong supporter of education,” Crowe told the STAR.

Crowe said he contacted Tennesseans for Student Success to get more insight into how the grades were determined. “It appears that their scorecard has rated each legislator on five pieces of legislation that this group advocated for this past session. I supported all but one,” Crowe said.

Among the bills which Crowe voted for dealt with accountability measures for teachers and school systems, student test scores, and dual-enrollment programs for high school students.

“The piece of legislation I did not support was a Charter School bill,” Crowe said. “Our school boards and local school administrators and teachers have never been in favor of charter schools as they have not been needed in our area due to the quality and success of our schools.”

“By voting no on this, I have actually supported education and educators in my district,” Crowe added.