Image Credit: State Representative Scott Cepicky / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
School districts across the state continue to speak out against Tennessee’s controversial new third grade retention law.
According to the law, all third graders who do not pass the state reading test at the end of the year must repeat the grade. If students participate in a mandatory summer school and/or tutoring program, they can be moved on to the next grade level.
A number of school districts have spoken out in opposition of the new law. They argue that using a single test as the determination for a student being promoted is unfair. They also say parents should have more choice in that decision making process.
Scott Langford, Chief Academic Officer for Sumner County Schools, stated recently in a board meeting, “The goal is to always make the decision that’s best for that child, a great body of research says you should only retain as a last resort, because it doesn’t really help kids, only in extreme circumstances does retention help.”
Wilson County School Board Member Jamie Farough also said, “Our children are more than data, and I think this considers only data and does not consider any things that make a child a child.”
Several school boards – including Sumner County Schools, Williamson County Schools, Wilson County Schools, and Murfreesboro City Schools – have passed resolutions requesting that state lawmakers make adjustments to the new law.
State Representative Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka-District 64) serves as the chair of the state’s education instruction subcommittee. He recently talked with Fox 17 News about the law.
When asked if the feedback that had been given by school districts would make Cepicky open to revisiting the law and considering modifications, he responded, “Yeah, I think we can take a look at it, because the boots on the ground are telling us there’s a problem here.”
Cepicky acknowledged that changes might need to be made to the law, but he did reiterate that he wants to see school districts implementing high-level supports for students before they reach the third grade.
“I think we’ve got to bring all these supports all the way back into kindergarten, to make sure that they have the tutors, they have the summer school to take advantage of, to make the kids the best they can be,” Cepicky said.
Nearly 65% of third graders in the state did not pass last year’s state-wide reading test. Those in favor of the law believe that more students need access to resources to get them on track.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com