Nashville parents hold meeting discussing needed changes to 3rd grade retention law
Several parents are upset over the state’s retention law that would hold students back who do not pass the English portion of the TCAP exam.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Several third-grade parents are concerned and upset over the state’s retention law that would hold students back who do not pass the English and Language Arts portion of the TCAP exam.
“There’s a lot of stress around it,” said Lucy Kells, as she held a picture of her third-grade daughter Catherine.
Kells described her daughter as a hard worker that suffers from some test anxiety. Kells said she doesn’t believe one test should determine whether or not a child matriculates to the next grade level.
“I have a young third grader who was virtually her whole first-grade year. She missed a portion of her kindergarten year because of the tornado and pandemic and she’s a hard worker and she’s catching up,” said Kells.
Several parents who attended Wednesday night’s town hall meeting at Woodbine United Methodist Church put on by a group of concerned parents and educators believe it’s unfair to put that much pressure on these students who experience severe learning loss during the pandemic.
“You hear about children who need to go to therapy—who are having anxiety and who don’t want to go to school,” said Kells.
Kells believes stress has been a huge contributing factor to the weight these kids eight to nine are undergoing as it relates to this test.
During the town hall, experts talked about the signs of stress and what parents should watch out for during the testing periods.
At the meeting, dozens of parents learned more about the law, discussed the law in break-out sessions, and talked about how they can push for amendments to the law.
So far, lawmakers have submitted 19 amendments to the law but Dr. Sarah Parker, a third-grade parent, says there’s only one amendment that aligns with their standards.
“So, what we’re hoping to see is the mandatory retention based on the ELA portion of the TCAP taken away and that retention decision given back to the local schools so the teacher, the district, and the administrators within the school and the family,” said
More than 70% of Metro Nashville Public School students are on track to not meet proficiency.
“Retention can really damage a child’s confidence and it’s shown to increase dropout rates and hasn’t been shown to improve scores long-term or the success of a student,” said Parker.
The law does provide retesting options for students who have “approaching” or “below expectation” scores.
Those students must attend a summer bridge program or participate in a tutoring program.
“Invest in our children. Don’t let a test determine if they’re ready. Let a teacher, let their parents determine that but also put the resources into our schools,” said Kells.
During the town hall discussion, parents were urged to contact lawmakers about this law. This group is planning to attend a House K-12 subcommittee meeting on Tuesday, February 14th at 4:30 p.m. at the Cordell Hull Building.
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