Special session on education should address systemic challenges beyond pandemic learning loss, Sen. Akbari says
MEMPHIS — The legislature should use the special session on education to address systemic funding issues in public schools that pre-date the pandemic, according to Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), the Senate Democratic Caucus chairwoman.
On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee announced that he would be calling the legislature together for a special session on Jan. 19 to address pandemic-related issues in education.
But Sen. Akbari believes the legislature should think bigger and tackle education issues that predate the pandemic.
“I hope the legislature takes this opportunity to unite around a bold agenda that invests in public schools,” Sen. Akbari said. “We have to give our educators the resources they need to support students and reverse learning loss, but we can’t stop there. Tennessee was 46th in the nation for student funding before the pandemic hit.
“The coronavirus did not create inequities in education and it is not the cause of our teacher retention crisis, but it did make these problems worse,” Akbari said. “No matter what zip code you’re in, every child deserves a great, well-funded public school and our teachers deserve a safe working environment that respects and rewards their contributions.”