The 109th session of Tennessee’s General Assembly began this week with education high on the agenda, including possible changes to the controversial educational standards known as Common Core. Governor Bill Haslam has called for a review of Common Core after some lawmakers argued the academic benchmarks should be replaced. Others say the state should stay the course. Among those who will consider the issue is first-year state representative and long-time teacher Kevin Dunlap (D-Rock Island). “In Tennessee we can come up with standards that meet what our students need to know,” he says. “But I’m reserving judgement to look at the bills, look at the laws, study them before I make any say whether I’m going to support or oppose anything of that sort.” Common Core State Standards on math and English language arts were adopted in Tennessee in 2010, and have been phased in by school districts since then. Additional education considerations expected to be heard this session include charter schools and vouchers, and teacher evaluations. Dunlap is hoping teacher pay is also addressed. “Our teachers are working hard to improve and enhance our students,” says Dunlap. “If the governor makes a pledge and promise to drastically raise their salaries, we’re hopeful that’s going to be at the top of his priority list.” In 2013, Governor Haslam set a goal of Tennessee becoming the fastest improving state in the nation when it comes to teacher salaries, but he took the planned boost in pay off the table last year, citing the state budget gap.