UPDATE: Hamilton County School Board members spoke with parents about how the 3rd-grade retention law may impact students this summer.
School Board member Ben Conner addressed parents about some concerns that have paused the bill in the House.
"An opinion that's been shared on the House Floor and the Senate floor and one that I would repeat is that is an opinion of mine I wish they had not chosen not this year. Our 3rd graders are the ones who didn't finish kindergarten," said Conner.
School board members say they don't anticipate many students being held back but say the state is searching for tutors to help with summer sessions.
PREVIOUS: Tennessee lawmakers are proposing 19 amendments to the third-grade retention law just one month before test time.
In one month, third-graders across Tennessee will take their TCAP achievement test.
Some third graders will pass the 'above average' reader requirement set by the state, but those who don't will be required by law to enroll in summer school, get a tutor, or repeat the grade.
PREVIOUS STORY: A Hamilton County Teacher has put together a petition, in hopes of getting Tennessee Law Makers to reconsider the Third Grade Retention Law.
The Third Grade Retention Law allows Tennessee schools to hold back 3rd graders who do not show proficiency in the English language arts section of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program Test.
“Under no circumstances should a state assessment be the only data point through which it is measured on whether our student will be promoted or not,” Cortney Fugate said.
Cortney Fugate is an 8th Grade Teacher at Loftis Middle School.
She decided to start the petition after sharing an article on Facebook about the Third Grade Retention Law and realized how many people were unaware of it.
She is also concerned about her son's future, now that he is in third grade.
“My son is neurodivergent. He has some anxiety issues and ADHD and because of that he, just like all kids really, has a very unique learning style. He is smart, he can read, he is a fantastic reader,” Fugate said.
Fugate said it is hard for him to sit still for long periods of time and he has a hard time taking tests.
“The time spend on the ELA TCAP is 180 minutes for the third. That of course is done in smaller blocks of time, but to ask any eight or nine-year-old to sit for 180-minutes to read text and bubble in answers is crazy,” Fugate said.
She said last year in Tennessee 64% of 3rd graders failed the ELA section.
In just days, Fugate has over a thousand signatures on her petition.
“With the petition my goal is to get some support and I have that now. I have been reaching out to different senators and representatives and I use that petition kind of as a backing. Like I speak on behalf of the these 1,100 people,” Fugate said.
She will continue to fight for her son and other students across Tennessee, in hopes of change.
“This cohort missed three months of class time in kindergarten, missed large portions of first grade and they were still dealing with quarantine and close contact tracking in second grade. This is their first normal school year and this will be their first year taking a state assessment,” Fugate said.
The law also reads that 3rd graders who don't pass would have to take summer classes and pass that before they could move on to the 4th grade.
You can support petition here.