Gov. Lee announces ‘promising results’ on education following special session


FILE – In this Jan. 19, 2021, file photo, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee answers questions after he spoke to a joint session of the legislature at the start of a special session on education in Nashville, Tenn. Despite having some of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, Tennessee isn’t planning to offer any incentives for people to get the shot. But it’s a different story when it comes to cattle, where the state has reimbursed farmers nearly half a million dollars over the past two years to vaccinate their herds against respiratory and other diseases. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Education announced encouraging data surrounding the state’s more than $160 million investment in academic summer camps to address learning loss and speed up achievement for Tennessee students.

Throughout the pandemic, the state of Tennessee las led the United States in providing academic resources and support for its students. In January 2021, Governor Lee asked the Tennessee General Assembly for a special legislative session to pass policies to prevent COVID-19 disruptions in the classrooms and support Tennessee students.

“Tennessee has led the nation in getting students back in the classroom and swiftly addressing learning loss,” the governor said. “As we continue to prioritize our students, I’m encouraged to share positive outcomes of priorities established in our historic special session. I am hopeful for our state and thank the legislature for their partnership to turn the tide for Tennessee students.”

Some of the promising results from the special session are outlined below:

Strong Student Participation

  • This summer, both summer learning camps and after school STREAM camps had higher attendance in elementary grades compared to middle school grades.
  • Overall, more than 120,000 Tennessee students enrolled in summer programming across the state.

English and Language Arts:

  • Overall, data showed an improvement of 5.97 percentage points
  • Elementary grades saw an improvement of 7.34 percentage points
  • Middle school grades saw an improvement of 0.66 percentage points


  • Overall, data showed an improvement of 10.49 percentage points
  • Elementary grades saw an improvement of 11.66 percentage points
  • Middle school grades saw an improvement of 6 percentage points

“This past summer, Tennessee school districts launched rich academic programs and thoughtfully prioritized student and family engagement to help their students get extra learning time and recover from a very tough school year. In doing so, they built tremendous momentum for students and staff heading into a brand new and still very tough school year,” Commissioner Penny Schwinn said. “There is a lot of work that lies ahead, but after seeing what Tennessee accomplished this summer for its students, I believe our public schools are proving what’s possible.” 

The Department of Education also gave a presentation to the Tennessee General Assembly on Wednesday. Details on the presentation can be found here.

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