Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Lt. Gov. McNally, Speaker Sexton and members of the General Assembly closed a historic special session to address learning loss and the negative effects on student proficiency in reading and math marked by time away from the classroom due to COVID-19.
In addition to interventions for Tennessee students, the passed legislation increases the salary component of the education funding formula by 2%.
Gov. Lee’s slate of education priorities included learning loss, phonics-based reading instruction and accountability measures to inform student progress.
The passed legislation includes the following measures:
Intervening to Stop Learning Loss – SB 7002/HB 7004
- Requires interventions for struggling students including after-school learning mini-camps, learning loss bridge camps and summer learning camps, beginning summer 2021
- Program prioritizes students who score below proficient in both reading (ELA) and math subjects
- Creates the Tennessee Accelerated Literacy and Learning Corps to provide ongoing tutoring for students throughout the entire school year
- Strengthens laws around a third grade reading gate so we no longer advance students who are not prepared
Building Better Readers with Phonics – SB 7003/HB 7002
- Ensures local education agencies (LEAs) use a phonics-based approach for kindergarten through third grade reading instruction
- Establishes a reading screener for parents and teachers to identify when students need help, well before third grade
- Provides training and support for educators to teach phonics-based reading instruction
Accountability to Inform – SB 7001/HB 7003
- Extends hold harmless provisions from the 2019-20 school year to the 2020-21 school year so that students, teachers, schools and districts do not face any negative consequences associated with student assessments
- Provides parents and educators with assessment data including TCAP testing to provide an accurate picture of where Tennessee students are and what supports are needed to offset any learning losses