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Haslam calls letter from Republicans a 'political stunt'
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NASHVILLE (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam’s office is dismissing as a “political stunt” a letter signed by 15 Republican lawmakers demanding the resignation of Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.The letter dated Thursday cites complaints from school administrators, teachers and students about Huffman’s leadership style as his department implements a series of changes in K-12 education.“Commissioner Huffman has overstepped his authority and failed to serve in the best interest of the citizens of this state,” the letter said. “Anything short of his immediate removal will be unacceptable.”The lawmakers signing the letter are strongly identified with the tea party wing of the party — including Rep. Joe Carr of Murfreesboro, who is challenging incumbent Lamar Alexander for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in August.Many of the signatories were involved in a legislative effort earlier this year to thwart Haslam’s wishes by delaying the implementation of Common Core standards and related testing requirements.Haslam spokesman David Smith said the Republican governor is standing by Huffman.“The governor believes there is a more productive way to discuss something so significant than through a letter by a small group of legislators more interested in trying to get headlines than substance,” Smith said.