Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is asking education leaders to back off criticism of beleaguered Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman and find a new way to communicate their concerns.
"The bottom line is that we are at a critical point in the implementation of key reforms that I believe will lead to continued progress in education, and this work is simply too important to get sidetracked," Haslam wrote in a letter addressed to school system superintendents and dated Monday.
At least 60 superintendents from around the state have signed a letter asking Haslam to put the brakes on Huffman's education reform polices and assess progress before moving ahead.
The letter, authored by Tullahoma Schools Superintendent Dan Lawson, criticized Huffman for his alleged refusal to discuss issues with local school leaders. Huffman, however, issued statements saying he does and will continue to communicate with them.
Lawson was not expected to send the letter to Haslam until midweek.
In the meantime, the Metro Nashville Education Association, the local teachers' union, went a step further and issued a vote of no confidence in Huffman.