Volume 52, Number 21

twelve pages

Byrdstown, Tennessee 38549 -- Thursday, May 21, 2015

Burks bill to strengthen education accountability passes Senate

A bill by State Senator
Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey)
to require results-based
promotion for third graders
across the state passed unanimously
in the Senate on
Wednesday.
“We set our children up for
failure when we allow them to
move through our schools
without being proficient in
reading," Burks said. "This
l e g i s l a t i o n
will make
sure that students
have
the foundation
for
greater success
in the
classroom."
Senate Bill
1776 requires
a third grade
student to show a basic understanding
of the curriculum
through standardized test
scores or daily grades before
being promoted to the fourth
grade. The requirement
would not apply to special education
students.
The bill effectively ends “social
promotion” in elementary
schools – that is, passing students
despite lacking the necessary
skills to advance to the
next grade. About 45,000 students
in Tennessee are considered
to be socially
promoted without regard to
their achievement.
After receiving notice that
the bill would cost the state
$175 million if it were implemented
in every grade, Burks
focused on the third grade because
of its importance in
teaching literacy. Senators on
both sides of the aisle praised
her work in eliminating the
cost to Tennessee taxpayers
while strengthening educational
accountability.
“We can spend millions of
dollars and implement all
kinds of new programs, but
real education improvement
will only happen when we set
goals for our children and
help them reach those goals,”
Burks said

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