Gov. Bill Lee announces legislation to prevent learning loss in students

Governor Bill Lee announced legislation aimed at addressing learning loss in students amid the pandemic.
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 5:10 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Governor Bill Lee announced legislation aimed at addressing learning loss in students amid the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has disrupted every aspect of education and we are on the cusp of severe consequences for our students if we don’t act now,” said Gov. Lee. “Data suggests that Tennessee third graders are facing an estimated 50% drop in reading proficiency and a projected 65% drop in math proficiency and that is not an acceptable path for our kids[1]. I thank Lt. Gov. McNally, Speaker Sexton and members of the General Assembly for acting quickly on behalf of our students and taking up intervention measures during the special session.”

What has been introduced:

Intervening to Stop Learning Loss – SB 7002

Requires interventions for struggling students including after-school learning mini-camps, learning loss bridge camps and summer learning camps, beginning summer 2021

Program prioritizes students who score below proficient in both reading (ELA) and math subjects

Creates the Tennessee Accelerated Literacy and Learning Corps to provide ongoing tutoring for students throughout the entire school year

Strengthens laws around a third grade reading gate so we no longer advance students who are not prepared

Building Better Readers with Phonics – SB 7003

Ensures local education agencies (LEAs) use a phonics-based approach for kindergarten through third grade reading instruction

Establishes a reading screener for parents and teachers to identify when students need help, well before third grade

Provides training and support for educators to teach phonics-based reading instruction

Accountability to Inform – SB 7001

Extends hold harmless provisions from the 2019-20 school year to the 2020-21 school year so that students, teachers, schools and districts do not face any negative consequences associated with student assessments

Provides parents and educators with assessment data including TCAP testing to provide an accurate picture of where Tennessee students are and what supports are needed to offset any learning losses

According to a release from the governor’s office, companion bills will be announced soon.

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