Tennessee Superintendents Speak Out on Gov. Lee’s Bad Education Policy

Superintendents in Shelby County are raising concerns about recently-passed legislation that would make retention the default option for a significant number of third grade students. One Superintendent even noted the effort “misses the mark” of its intent and instead of being helpful, will actually have a harmful effect on students.

The Daily Memphian has more:

“I have never seen anything that will hurt students as bad as what they are proposing,” Germantown Municipal School District Superintendent Jason Manuel told the suburb’s Board of Education in a recent meeting.

The response from Manuel comes as his district sent a letter to Gov. Bill Lee and local lawmakers raising concerns about this issue and the insistence on in-person TNReady testing this year.

Meanwhile, it has been pointed out that TNReady is NOT a literacy test and using it for this purpose is ill-advised.

“The legislation is attempting to address third graders who can’t read at grade level, but the TCAP test doesn’t test to see if students can read at grade level,” Lakeland Superintendent Ted Horrell said.

Unsurprisingly, the leadership over at SCORE suggests this idea is a really good one — even though actual educators stand in strong opposition to it. Here’s SCORE CEO Dave Mansouri tweeting about how great this really bad idea is:

Tennessee takes important steps today in improving early literacy and addressing COVID-related learning loss as @GovBillLee signs this year’s special session legislation. Now on to the important work of implementing these policies well! #tnedu pic.twitter.com/dCkzIIt8uy

- David Mansouri (@davemansouri) February 3, 2021

It’s almost as if Mansouri gets paid to be a cheerleader for the bad ideas of GOP governors instead of actually advancing sound education policy.

Here’s more on the folly of third grade retention:

But, as Senator Jeff Yarbro points out, 62% of third graders currently fall into the category where retention is the default action. And, students who are retained at this age end up more likely to not complete school or graduate from high school. There’s definitely mixed data on the benefits and drawbacks to retention.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

Originally published at http://tnedreport.com on March 8, 2021.

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN

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