General Assembly passes bill to end social promotion

 (NASHVILLE, TN), May 31, 2011 — Legislation requiring results-based promotion for third graders across the state was approved by state lawmakers before the General Assembly adjourned the 2011 session.  The measure requires a third grade student to show basic understanding for curriculum through standardized test scores or daily grades before passing to the fourth grade. 

Senate Bill 1776 was sponsored by Senator Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey) and co-sponsored by Senate Education Chairman Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville).  Gresham said the bill will go far to help students be prepared for the next grade level instead of falling behind.
“We cheat our children and ourselves when we allow students to move through our schools without actually learning the material,” said Senator Burks.  “This legislation will lay a foundation for greater accountability in the classroom that puts our children first.  We can spend millions of dollars and implement all kinds of new programs, but real education improvement will only happen when we set goals for our children and help them reach those goals.”

“The main problem with social promotion is that the student falls further and further behind if they cannot master the third grade-appropriate testing,” said Senator Gresham.  “Mastery of the basics, which are tested in the third grade, is critical to a child’s future success in school.  Everything else builds on that foundation.  Without this foundational knowledge, the student has far less chance for educational success and will fall hopelessly behind.”

Estimates show about 45,000 students in Tennessee are considered to be socially promoted.  The bill approved by the legislature does not apply to special education students.  

“If we truly want to increase education attainment, this measure had to be addressed,” Gresham added.  “I am very pleased that our General Assembly has passed this education reform bill.”

The bill now awaits Governor Haslam’s signature and, if signed, will become effective on July 1.                       
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