Concerned Nashville parents organize town hall to oppose third grade retention law

Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-08 23:31:36-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Starting this school year, third graders who score below proficient on the state's English language arts test may have to repeat the school year if they don’t participate in programs to get caught up on reading.

The strict law was passed in 2021 and it could hold back a large portion of TN third-grade students, and for some parents, understanding their options has not been easy.

Celia Aguilar said it's only been a few months since she first learned about the controversial third-grade retention law.

"I only found out about it this year," she said.

And it wasn’t until Wednesday's town hall, where Spanish translations were available, that she said she finally understood the implications it could have.

The meeting held at Woodbine United Methodist Church was organized by More than A Test Nashville, a group of MNPS parents and community members, who are demanding changes.

"I can assure you that we are not getting information, and there are some people who do not know anything at all about this," Aguilar said.

According to data, 73% of MNPS third graders could be held back.

In December, MNPS sent letters to parents of third graders to make sure they're prepared if their children don't pass the state's reading test, which could mean signing up for summer school or a year of tutoring.

Lawmakers will have a chance to amend the third-grade retention law during this legislative session. Parents and educators hope their voice is the one that prevails.

Editor's note: Quotes in this article have been translated from Spanish.

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