Statement on Signing of TN General Assembly Special Session Legislation
We commend Governor Bill Lee for convening the General Assembly for an extraordinary special session in January and calling on legislators to address the challenges of educating Tennessee’s students during the pandemic and beyond. The legislative package, signed into law yesterday, will serve to advance foundational literacy instruction and tackle our state’s reading crisis, disrupt COVID-19-inflicted learning loss, and dedicate significant resources for Tennessee’s public schools and hard-working teachers. These new laws seek to amplify the impact of highly-effective teachers, high-quality tutors, and innovative expanded learning opportunities, while providing the resources to ensure every student in Tennessee who needs them has access to these critical programs.
The Education Trust in Tennessee believes that the success of these initiatives will rely on key supports and critical communication from the state, as well as thoughtful engagement with district leaders, educators, families and community partners. It will also be essential to have transparent and accessible information on the success of these initiatives, as well as feedback loops for improvement over the next several years. Our ability to significantly reduce the negative impacts of our literacy crisis and of the pandemic in an equitable manner is only as strong as the collaboration and evaluation we employ from the outset.
We remain committed to continued dialogue and engagement as Tennessee responds to this crisis, and will elevate key questions, concerns and bright spots along the way. The Education Trust in Tennessee stands ready to serve as a resource and partner for the benefit of our state’s students and their communities that stand to gain so much from this important moment.