Scores from end-of-year tests are in the hands of Tennessee schools, but their late release has some still wanting a more thorough explanation.
Critics of Tennessee Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, meanwhile, are emboldened by a blunder that has put pressure on the Department of Education.
Tea party sympathizer Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, one of his loudest detractors, called for the resignation of Huffman on Monday, pointing to the delay — and subsequent release last Friday — as speaking to an issue of "incompetence."
"It's the one thing he's supposed to do, and he can't even do that," Womick said. "I think he needs to resign, and I think we need to find somebody else."
That's the harshest public response to the Tennessee Department of Education's last-minute notification to 140 local school districts that TCAP scores wouldn't be ready in time to go on final report cards for many of them.
Scores ended up arriving a full week ahead of the delay officials had predicted. Still, the department is following through on waivers submitted by 104 school districts to be exempt from a state law requiring schools to include TCAP, taken by students in third through eighth grades, in the final grades of students.
For thousands of students, including those in Nashville, this will nullify a statute that was supposed to put skin in the game for students when it came to standardized testing. Therein lies a point many keep making — while more decisions than ever get made by testing, the state fell short on simply getting scores to schools.
J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, said he hopes the Tennessee legislature will hold hearings on the issue.
"Somebody needs to explain something, and it doesn't need to be a series of press releases at 4 o'clock," he said, though doubting whether a hearing is possible during an election season.
House Speaker Beth Harwell, through a spokeswoman, said as of Monday morning no House members had called for a hearing.
Because of moves this year to eliminate portions of TCAP tests not aligned with Common Core standards, state officials had said they needed 10 more days to thoroughly review the assessment to make sure it was comparable to previous years' exams.
On Friday, they said they had already finished this process called "post-equating," a common procedure in large-scale testing.
A new state statute passed this year gave the commissioner a new authority to waive local school districts from factoring TCAP into student grades.
Nevertheless, Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, has asked for an Attorney General's opinion on whether that reading of the state law is actually correct.
Not everyone has piled on, though, in the aftermath of last week's TCAP flap.
Metro school officials have said they appreciated the state's willingness to entertain waivers. And Williamson County Schools superintendent Mike Looney, who was especially critical of the state over the delay, issued what he called a "public apology" in a Friday email to Erin O'Hara, assistant commissioner of data and research at the department, for reacting so aggressively days earlier.
"We've been tremendously concerned about the proficiency at which the department communicates to [local school districts] but that doesn't necessarily mean that something nefarious happens with the process," Looney told The Tennessean.
He said his letter was an attempt to offer compassion for O'Hara, who has "taken the brunt of this storm."