TNReady Failure Disrupts Magnet School Testing

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jun 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-07 12:09:38-04

The TNReady failure has left Metro school board members scrambling to find an alternative way to test students heading into magnet schools. 

Natalie Dunn just finished sixth grade at Head Magnet School. During the dog days of summer, she planned to enjoy her favorite past time, soccer. However, her mind was already set on the next school year. She hoped to attend Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet in the Fall. 

"I want the best education I can get so to go to MLK would be an honor because of their academics," Natalie said. 

There's just one problem, "I'm pretty sure we're not getting in," Natalie's mom, Kelly Dunn said. 

Initially in private school, Kelly moved her daughter to Head Magnet specifically to feed into MLK. However, that meant she didn't have standardize test scores to prove she qualified, and she won't be getting any thanks to the failure of TNReady.

"When the state went away from the old testing system and tried to implement a new testing system we were going to use that new measure but unfortunately that system failed and now our students and families are left hanging on the line, unfortunately," MNPS Board Member, Will Pinkston said. 

School board members have started looking for another testing method for students heading to magnet schools. "It speaks to the decisions that were made years ago, not just weeks and months ago but years ago and there needs to be, frankly, some legislative hearings to get to the bottom of what happened because this is a terrible situation," said Pinkston. 

"All of this 'no kid left behind', you have a good student that I can prove in black and white that she's a good student, and she's getting left behind," said Kelly. 

The school board was working with the State and hopes to have an alternative plan by the end of the week. However, it will come at a cost to taxpayers. 

“Unfortunately it’s going to be at a greater expense to local tax payers, it’s going to be yet another unfunded mandate from the state because they weren’t able to deliver on their promise. It’s an unfortunate situation but we’re going to struggle through it,” Pinkston said.

Parents with questions and concerns can contact the school district's Family Information Center at 615-259-info(4636). 

“I think the most important message right now is just to be patient. The school system is trying to work around the State’s failures. We’re doing our best and the board will be monitoring the situation and we’ll hope to get some resolution soon,” said Pinkston.