KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Wednesday night, the school board was hard at work making some key decisions during the last meeting of the year before students go on winter break on Dec. 21.
“I was excited tonight to see that the board seemed to come together in favor of this resolution,” Knox County parent Erin Keck said.
School board members approved a resolution to request the Tennessee General Assembly to amend the state’s new retention law. The law requires third graders who score less than proficient in the English language arts portion of the TCAP exam to be held back unless certain conditions are met.
“It’s a one-time shot and that’s not in the best interest of our students so the resolution is asking our legislatures go back and look at that law and re-work it,” School Board Member Jennifer Owen said.
“All of our children have an off day,” Keck said. “Maybe they didn’t get enough sleep and they don’t feel okay, maybe they don’t do great on that test, and wouldn’t it be terrible that one day that they didn’t do great on a test determines what’s going to happen for their next school year.”
We will have to see how things play out with the retention law but one item the board did not approve Wednesday, keeping the public and media out of agenda-setting meetings.
“When I was board chair, there were several times that I was concerned that the media may misunderstand something that we perhaps discussed and didn’t put on the agenda,” board member Susan Horn said. “Or also that an issue, a topic could be in the media before other board members were made aware of it.”
Horn was in favor of the motion and says it was not to keep agenda-setting meetings secret, just a courtesy to other board members. Although after much thought from her colleagues, the motion failed.
“It’s not so much to keep you out as the feeling. The feeling is more for convenience, but I don’t think we should be tacking everything on convenience. We need to be open as possible,” Owen said.
“Anytime there’s an option for this type of meeting to be public and it’s legal for it to be so I’m all in favor for the community having that option,” Keck added.
School leaders also discussed building and upgrading playgrounds. No action was taken Wednesday but conversations were positive.