MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — One day and one test could change the life of Anna Sturm’s son.
“I was devastated when I read it,” she said. “As a mother, it was such a disheartening thing to read that this is going to be something that could impact my child and thousands and thousands of children.”
Last January, Tennessee lawmakers passed a new policy that would hold back 3rd graders who don’t pass the state’s reading test.
“As a mom, that decision being taken away from me and my child’s teacher and put in the hands of lawmakers is terrifying,” said Sturm.
Sturm’s son is currently in the 3rd grade and she worries about the implications this law will have on him and other students across the state.
“They’re wanting to make a decision about one day, one test, one data point, that’s an impact that would last for years to come,” she said.
Last school year, TCAP’s ELA scores showed 3rd graders scoring below level increased 47% and that those students are typically not able to read proficiently.
“The education of our students is very important to me, but I just don’t think this law is the way to go about it,” said Amanda Moore.
Moore is a school board member for Murfreesboro City Schools and is also worried about this new law.
“Retention is a serious decision.,” she said. “It can have long-term effects on a child and that’s the sort of decision we need to look at on an individual basis.”
After more details of the state law were discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting, the board voted to ask their attorney to draft a resolution expressing concerns.
“If there’s a clear statement from a lot of school boards across the state saying we’re close to this issue we know our districts and this is not going to be good for our kids I think that can have an effect on what our state legislators are hearing,” said Moore. “They may decide to take another look at this before the end of the school year.”
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And for Sturm, that’s something she’s hoping can happen before testing begins in the spring.
“If we speak about our concerns I’m absolutely hopeful our lawmakers will hear us as parents and will make the changes that are best for our kids,” she said.
Murfreesboro City School Board will vote on that resolution at their next board meeting in September.
Both women encourage parents who are upset with the law to reach out to their state legislatures to voice their concerns.
According to the retention law, students who fail can go to summer school and or receive tutoring to avoid being held back.
You can view the full law HERE.