Gov. Lee seeks to temporarily suspend accountability measures for schools, educators

Education

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is seeking to temporarily suspend accountability measures for schools and educators relating to student assessments for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Gov. Lee and Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn on Friday called for the removal of negative consequences for schools and educators associated with student assessments for the 2020-2021 school year.

In a news release, Gov. Lee said he would work with the Tennessee General Assembly to pass a resolution that would remove disciplinary measures for schools and educators whose students may not meet assessment standards due to the challenging educational environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Given the unprecedented disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic and extended time away from the classroom has had on Tennessee’s students, my Administration will work with the General Assembly to bring forward a solution for this school year that alleviates any burdens associated with educator evaluations and school accountability metrics,” said Gov. Lee. “Accountability remains incredibly important for the education of Tennessee’s students, and we will keep this year’s assessments in place to ensure an accurate picture of where our students are and what supports are needed to regain learning loss and get them back on the path to success.”

The Tennessee Department of Education has an accountability system for school districts and individual schools based on indicators of academic success like graduation rates, state test scores and student growth data.

In a call with reporters Friday, Gov. Lee said the state will continue to conduct statewide testing in order to gauge student progress and to ensure the state continues to receive federal education funding tied to student testing.

“Due to COVID-19, Tennessee districts and schools experienced extended periods away from the classroom and missed critical instruction time during the spring. The department supports Governor Lee’s call for holding teachers and schools harmless from negative consequences associated with accountability measures this school year,” said Commissioner Schwinn. “Administering assessments to gauge student learning and ensuring strong accountability best enables us to meet the needs of all students, however we know the significant challenges our teachers and school and district leaders are facing and it remains critical to reward their good work. We look forward to working together with our elected officials on a solution for this school year that preserves our strong foundations while ensuring that every teacher feels supported in focusing on educating their students.”

This is a developing story and we’ll continue to update the details as they become available. Click here for more information.

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