Special Session 2021

January 19, 2021

1. LITERACY – HB 7002
● What is it?
Reading ability and literacy levels are fundamental benchmarks of education. Only ⅓ of
Tennessee 3rd graders are on reading level. This legislation aims to improve the amount of
Tennessee students on reading level by focusing on a fundamental of reading: phonics
(method of teaching to read based on sounding out words, not simply memorizing full words.
This allows students to understand unknown words by understanding basic premises to
determine the full word.)

● How does it work?
Every Local Education Agency (LEA) is required to use phonics-based literacy skills to teach
reading. This includes: textbook content, post-secondary education of teachers to include
phonics curriculum, screeners of students, required phonics knowledge of teaching candidates
for positions, required reporting to legislature/state on progress of LEAs.

● What is it?
Student assessments serve as a crucial element to measure academic progress by helping
families and educators get a better picture of where students have success and/or needs. This
legislation will keep these evaluations in place. However, it also holds teachers, schools,
and districts harmless for assessments.

● How does it work?
Teachers and LEAs are able to choose to keep the assessment scores in their evaluations or
accountability measures if it benefits them. Otherwise, the assessments are used purely for
gauging the standing of the student’s needs.

● What is it?
Students across the state have shown a “learning loss” in critical areas of reading and math due
to COVID-19 learning environments. Students in low-income homes and disabled students have
been especially hit hard. This legislation will enact “learning loss remediation camps” over
the course of two summers to help students catch up.

● How does it work?
Beginning this year, K-8 students may participate in remediation camps to raise their proficiency
levels to the appropriate grade level learning benchmarks. The areas of the camps will include:
English & Math along with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math (STEAM).
Programming is open to all students and requires at least 4 hours of daily instruction in literacy
& math.
After the two years, a permanent bridge program will be implemented for non-proficient students
entering the 4th-8th grades. Tennessee teachers, tutors, and staff will receive a stipend for the
work. Qualified tutors will be obtained in part through a statewide program.