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Controversial New Law Creates Crisis in the Classroom

JACKSON, Tenn. - This year’s third grade class is bracing for a change.

A new Tennessee retention law requires third grade students to pass an English Language Arts test before they can move on to the fourth grade.

Madison County mayor A.J. Massey has a son in third grade.

The mayor recalls how his son first struggled with reading but improved after helping him at home.

"There was a moment in time when we didn’t know which direction he was going to go as far as his reading ability, but it was almost overnight, it just clicked. Reading scores went up, reading speed went up, perception went up, so just trust the process, trust those educators for help. I promise our teachers are excellent, they’ll give you the time and attention.”

The controversial retention law was passed in 2021 but is taking effect now in the 2022-2023 academic school year.

Third grade students who do not score high enough will have two options: summer school or repeat the third grade.

CEO of the Jackson boys and girls club Sabrina Anderson advises parents to turn to the Jackson Madison County school system for help.

“Work with them on some of the computerized programs that they have, like Study Island, Exact Path with the school system. Utilize the school’s resources, they have many things parents can do to help them help their children.”

Anderson tells concerned parents of third grade students to reach out to educators to help their child succeed.

“I definitely advise work with your school system to see if they can have some tutoring time, and then take time in the evening to work with their child after they come home from school, so that they can feel a certain level of confidence within themselves.”

For parents of third grade students who want to know more about the retention law can visit the Jackson-Madison County School System website under the announcements tab.

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