NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s a new bill coming for regular session, and it deals with math and student’s testing scores.
“You have to know how to read by third grade. But after third grade, once you know how to read, reading is repetitive. Once you know how to read, you know how to read,” Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) said. “With mathematics, it’s building: addition, then subtraction, then division, then multiplication.”
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Instead, it would still require summer school or tutoring for students scoring below the benchmark on their TCAP or universal screener, and it would apply to all K-8 students, not just third grade.
“This bill, this proposal we’re coming up with has nothing to do with retention,” Cepicky said. “There’s no retention in the bill at all.”
Democrats say though there may not be a retention component, it’s clearly another attempt at driving money away from public schools.
“It’s as if they want our public schools to fail, so that they can then take them over or channel more students into private schools, strengthen their voucher program, give them another reason to use vouchers or to create more charter schools, like Hillsdale College,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) said.
Cepicky, the brains behind the bill, pushed back on that notion. “We’re trying to make our public schools as competitive as possible with our private schools so that parents really have to decide is the education in the private sector better?”
But Clemmons argued this bill is the wrong way to do that, saying the third-grade reading retention law “did nothing to achieve its stated purpose.”
“I had hoped all the bad ideas coming out of this administration as far as public education left the state with Penny Schwinn,” he said.
Statewide in Tennessee, about 34% of students tested proficient in math last school year.