School board sends resolutions to state legislators over new law

JACKSON, Tenn. —┬áThis spring, a single test could determine if your third grader goes on to fourth grade or is held back.

That’s according to a new law that goes into effect this school year.

The new law requires third graders that don’t score proficient or higher on their TN Ready State Assessment to repeat the third grade.

The original bill that set up the third grade retention rule was sponsored by majority leader William Lamberth.

He says the new rule is meant to make sure children can read and can get a great education.

But some parents disagree, saying being held back could have a negative impact on student’s self-esteem.

“Now they have to start over, I’ve got to make new friends, I’m already shy. Now I’m feeling like I am more or less I’m not smart enough as my classmates,” said Tamara Miles, the mother of student.

Two Republican lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would change how the new rule works.

One proposal would leave the decision to repeat a grade up to the individual school district.

The other would require the district to come up with an educational plan for how they could get the child back on track.

The Jackson-Madison County School System is speaking out on the new third grade retention rule.

School officials say if some type of policy like this is going to be put in place, then it needs to be for an earlier grade since after third grade is when students are reading to learn instead of learning to read.

The school board signed two resolutions Thursday to be sent to Tennessee state legislators in response to the new law.

One states their disagreement with the new rule and the other states a proposal they believe would help solve the problem earlier on.

School officials signed the pre-school resolution, which let’s our state legislators know that they believe more state funding is needed for pre-school classes.

Chief of Staff Melissa Spurgeon says the extra funding would allow them to open more pre-school classes, which could solve several problems for students and parents alike.

“We know childcare is scarce everywhere. And so this allows students to be able to get in at the age of four for us to be able to get a head start on their education,” she said.

Spurgeon says having students start school earlier could help prevent problems before students make it to the third grade testing.

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