Knox Co. School Board asks state to revise law that can fail many third graders
As the law stands, if a third-grader doesn’t get a high enough score on the reading section of the end-of-the-year standardized test, they could be held back.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Big changes could come to a Tennessee education law if Knox County leaders and some parents get their way at the capital. Wednesday evening, the board of education agreed to send a formal amendment to a law that could keep thousands of students from advancing to the fourth grade.
As the law stands, if a third-grader doesn’t get a high enough score on the reading section of the end-of-the-year standardized test, that student could be looking at staying in the third grade for another year or taking summer classes.
Parents like Tim Buss take some concern with the new law.
“If they don’t make it, then it’s a big blow to their self esteem that’s heartbreaking as a parent,” Buss said.
There are other concerns, such as how the school district will staff summer classes with teachers. During Wednesday’s meeting, a retired Knox County teacher called the law discriminatory.
“Because of the communities in which they are raised, income level, bilingual, many many children being raised by grandparents, many children being raised by children that are not able to help the students at home, and I feel like this is very very important,” said the teacher.
The board agreed to send state lawmakers a list of revisions that could help many students, which includes asking that the student’s teacher have a say in whether the child needs to be held back and take attendance, the overall academic achievement of the student and the student’s social and emotional maturity all into consideration of advancement.
The possible change is ultimately left up to lawmakers.
The board also passed a one-million-dollar contract with the McNabb Center to bring on a couple of mental health counselors. Additionally, leaders will continue to decide who will pay for playground upgrades needed across the district.
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