Will K-12 ‘learning loss’ in Tennessee lead to special legislative session?

Keeping Schools Safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s word on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill that a special session on education might be considered because of the “learning loss” students are experiencing after studying from home.

A special session is something Governor Bill Lee would have to work out with legislative leaders. House Speaker Cameron Sexton said he’s not ruling anything out.

“We have had conversations since June and July about education and whether or not there needs to be a special called session, so we’ll see,” Speaker Sexton Monday told News 2 on Monday. “If he decides to go that route we will be happy to work with him.”

Governor Lee could make the final call for a special session on education, but not without support from Senate leader Lt. Governor Randy McNally or Speaker Sexton.

The governor said three-quarters of Tennessee’s K-12 students are in classrooms, but with COVID-19 looming and 250,000 students learning from home, the question for state leaders, educators, and school parents is how are the kids doing?

“I know there has been much conversation about learning loss,” the speaker added. “As much as virtual schools going on right now and as many kids who are not in school…you try to figure out if there is a lot of learning loss, how do we make it up before next year.”

It will be a major focus of lawmakers whether they address it beginning next month in their regular session or in a special at some point next year.

Another education-related to be addressed are teacher evaluations, which are tied to student learning. Lawmakers might consider waiving some parts of the evaluation process because of COVID-19’s impact.

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