WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — “He’s terrified he’s going to have to redo third grade and not be with his friends,” Jennifer Gentry, mother in Wilson County said.
This is the fear for third graders across the state. One test puts students at risk of not entering the fourth grade.
This week, the Wilson County School Board is asking the state to cut them some slack. The board unanimously passed a resolution expressing their concerns about the law that focuses on how well third graders perform on the ELA portion of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP).
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Parents in Wilson County said learning loss goes beyond the pandemic.
“This is the first school year my kids had a first solid normal school year,” Gentry said.
Gentry said it wasn’t just the pandemic that contributed to learning loss. A tornado destroyed two schools in Wilson County in 2020.
“It’s just a lot of trauma in a short period of time. Some of our kids did lose their homes, some of their family members were injured, I would like to see that considered,” said Jamie Farough, Wilson County School Board Zone 7 member.
Farough with the Wilson County school board said she drafted a resolution after her constituent, Jennifer Gentry, came forward petitioning against the retention law. “A single data source can’t tell you if a student had a bad morning,” Farough said.
However, Representative Mark White said the law offers options if the students don’t perform well on the reading portion for TCAP.
“There is so many ways a child does not need to be retained, there is summer school that the state is paying for, private tutoring that the state is paying for, they can appeal to the state board,” said Rep. White who is the Tennessee House Education Administration Chair.
Representative White said he has heard many concerns over the law that he sponsored and fine-tuning it is a possibility this legislative session
“I understand some of the opposition and we will listen to that, but we are going to have to address this issue that too many are not reading on grade level after third grade,” Representative White said.
Meanwhile, the Wilson County School Board passed a resolution this week expressing their concerns. The resolution now sits on the desks of state lawmakers.
“For all of our board members to come together, as well as our superintendent, there is not one person that thinks this legislation is a good idea,” Gentry said.