Milan school leaders respond to proposed education bills

MILAN, Tenn. — COVID-19 has extended time away from the classroom, resulting in students experiencing a learning loss in reading and math.

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Milan Special School District Director of Schools Jonathan Criswell says their students have not experienced the dramatic learning loss that Gov. Bill Lee says the state anticipated.

“Obviously there has been some skills that have been missed because of not being in school in March, April, May of last year, but our teachers have really tried to hone in on those specific skills and then address those skills within the curriculum,” Criswell said.

State legislators are now looking at bill proposals to address learning loss caused by COVID-19 closures, including literacy testing. Criswell says he believes the intent behind those bills comes from a good place, but he has concerns if those bills pass.

Criswell says the district is already required to do literacy testing three times a year.

“The state does not have access to that data, and so it appears in the new legislation that the bill would require us to give the state that data,” Criswell said.

Another bill would mean that low testing scores would send students to either summer school or after school learning programs

“We already have students in tears because they feel the pressure to do well for their teachers or to do well on the tests,” Criswell said. “You add that kind of pressure, the tears will be real.”

And Criswell says the stress would impact teachers as well as students.

“For us to ask them to turn around and do summer school for six weeks, and then a couple weeks of professional development, and then try to turn around and teach school for the next school year, I think is asking a little too much of our educators,” Criswell said.

In addition to learning loss interventions, Gov. Lee has also proposed adding funding for teacher salaries.

Categories: Local News, News
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