Senate Democrats react to G.O.P.’s failing third-grade retention law

Tennessee Senate Democrats
2 min readMay 23, 2023

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Senate Democratic leaders are reacting to the release of test scores from third graders across the state.

According to state education officials, 60% of third grade students are at risk of being retained in the third grade — based on a single test score — due to a law passed by Gov. Bill and Republicans during a four-day special session in 2021.

Senator Raumesh Akbari, senate minority leader:

“There are so many student interventions we could be supporting to improve reading comprehension. High-stakes testing, with the threat of failing third grade, is not one of them.

“Important decisions about your child’s education should never be made based on a single test score. But the G.O.P. refused to listen to educators and passed their third-grade retention law anyway.

“Now 60% of third graders could be held back. No one benefits from this manufactured chaos.”

Senator London Lamar, Democratic caucus chairwoman:

“Families of third graders across Tennessee are feeling the consequences of Republicans enacting a law that ignored evidence-based and data-driven recommendations. Instead they used students as a pawn for their extreme agenda.

“Our third graders are so much more than a single test score. We should be investing in innovative solutions like smaller classroom sizes and reading specialists, not more high-stakes testing.”