Tennessee Legislature approves TNReady cancellation due to Coronavirus Health Crisis

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The Tennessee State Legislature voted Thursday to  approve the cancellation of TNReady requirements. The legislation will remove the burden of testing and other government mandates on school communities this year as classes were canceled statewide due to the new novel coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation had unanimous support in the House and Senate, passing unanimously.

The bill also protects, teachers, schools and students from being held accountable for not completing the test.

The legislation enables the state to drop state testing requirements this spring and waive the required 180 days of classroom instruction. Governor Bill Lee is expected to sign the legislation soon.

“The TNReady legislation was brought together quickly this week after the governor urged districts to close schools to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 

Students, schools and teachers won’t be penalized for choosing not to participate in state testing that includes the TNReady assessment for grades 3-8 and end-of-course exams for high school students.

“The Student and Teacher Relief Act, HB 2818, has passed the House!‬ so happy to vote for this bill!

‪Waived…TNReady, TCAPs, All Portfolios, 180 days of instruction, flexibility for future teachers who will graduate this year…‬‪When school reopens, teachers can teach and students can learn!!‬…Big win!!

Thank you for the feedback and support to make this happen!” ~ J.C.Bowman, Executive 

Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee.

This past Monday, Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn requested a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education on federal testing requirements and related accountability requirments.

If school districts decide to voluntarily test their students, the legislation says the results must be excluded from students’ final grades, teacher evaluations, and A-F letter grades being given to schools this year for the first time — unless they result in higher scores and grades.

Commissioner Schwinn Statement Regarding General Assembly Passage of Education Waivers Related to COVID-19

NASHVILLE, TN— In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and tornado damage, the Tennessee General Assembly passed HB2818/ SB2672, which waives state assessment and accountability requirements, including the 2019-20 spring administration of the TNReady and end-of-course assessments.

 Commissioner Penny Schwinn released the following

Penny Schwinn

statement regarding these waivers:

“These are challenging times for all of us. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Governor’s Office and legislative leaders to craft this amendment so that no student, educator, or school will be adversely affected due to the loss of instructional time caused by tornadoes and the coronavirus pandemic.

The priority must be to enact response measures to protect the health and safety of all Tennesseans. The Department is continuing to work with district leaders as they support their students, teachers, and staff during these closures. Thank you to the General Assembly for quickly addressing this issue and providing clarity to our educators and families.”

The amendment ensures that no school district, school, district employee or teacher is adversely impacted by school closures, student absenteeism or other hardships related to COVID-19 and the tornadoes.

Assessment and accountability is an integral part of the Tennessee education system that enables us to learn where students are excelling and how to best meet the needs of all students. In order to waive any requirements related to assessment and accountability, a federal waiver is required and the Tennessee legislature must make changes to existing state law. Passage of this amendment makes the necessary changes for the 2019-2020 school year only.

On Monday, the Department submitted the necessary waiver to the U.S. Department of Education related to assessment and accountability.

Read more about the amendment on the Tennessee General Assembly’s website here: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=HB2818  

Department of Education resources and guidance for COVID-19: https://www.tn.gov/education/health-and-safety/update-on-coronavirus.html