The Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn will join the Rutherford County legislative delegation for an education forum on Thursday, September 22 from 6-7 pm at the Smyrna Event Center at 100 Sam Ridley Pkwy E. Topics of discussion will include the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act which passed in January 2021 and contains the third grade reading standards.
Parents, teachers, and Rutherford County citizens are encouraged to submit questions at this link. The Commissioner will address various topics beginning with the third grade reading standards and will answer related questions.
The delegation is made up of six state lawmakers that represent Rutherford County in the Tennessee General Assembly, one of the fastest growing counties in the state. The legislators include State Senators Dawn White and Shane Reeves, both of Murfreesboro; State Representatives Bryan Terry, Charlie Baum, Tim Rudd, all of Murfreesboro, and Mike Sparks of Smyrna.
“The Commissioner had agreed to come to Rutherford County to discuss education related issues closer to session, but knowing that there is some time sensitive information, she has graciously agreed to accelerate her visit,” said the Rutherford County Delegation. “We appreciate her responsiveness to our delegation.”
Governor Bill Lee called for a Special Legislative Session that convened in January of 2021 prior to the regular legislative session. During that Special Session, the General Assembly passed the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act and the Literacy Success Act. These laws were aimed at improving literacy rates and tackling the learning loss related to COVID-19 school related issues.
At the time, with Tennessee suffering from a 33% reading proficiency rate for third graders, the state’s third grade retention law was updated to provide students with additional academic support before being promoted. Provisions of the law were implemented statewide including Murfreesboro City Schools and Rutherford County Schools in 2021. However, the timeline for other provisions of the law including the third grade retention portion were intentionally delayed so that local education associations could make preparations for the ambitious goals.
“Though the law passed in January of 2021, the City and County Schools began implementing the law, and the law was amended in 2022 to include an appeals process, there have been some questions about the law from parents,” stated the Delegation. “We felt like it was important for the Commissioner to hear from our constituents and for our parents and teachers to hear from her.”
The event will be open to the public and seating will be limited. Questions from the public will need to be submitted via the portal no later than Noon on Wednesday, September 21.