NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Gov. Bill Lee signed several key bills that were passed when lawmakers convened last month for a special session on education, including one to increase teacher pay.
Moments ago, I signed our special session education bills into law. Our decisive action to intervene on behalf of Tennessee students will equip them for success, educating our kids better in the future than before the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/fj7xu4ueqj— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) February 3, 2021
Lee called the special session, which concluded on Jan. 22, in an effort to get the state's education system back on track after negative impacts were reported in reading and math comprehension.
A bill to increase teacher pay passed, adding $42 million in the BEP for districts to increase pay. It's a 4% increase, but it doesn't mean pay will be increased for all teachers by 4%.
Republicans called the passage of the laws a win, but some of the bills were controversial and some believe there could be unintended consequences. For example, one bill requires after-school and summer school programs for kids who are falling behind. That same bill would allow districts to hold back 3rd graders who aren't reading on grade level.
However, one controversial proposal didn't pass. It was the bill that would've reduced funding for districts if they didn't return kids to school in the 2021 school year.