Tennessee’s Literacy Rates at Crisis-level Lows, Student Org. Says

Nashville, TN (TN Tribune)– Tennesseans for Student Success (TSS) today released the following statement after Governor Bill Lee (R-Tenn.) announced his intention to convene the Tennessee General Assembly for a special legislative session to address critical issues facing public education.

With only 34.9 percent of students meeting expectations in ELA across grade levels, we must address literacy head-on with comprehensive legislation that provides students with the necessary instruction and high-quality material to improve student success, officials from TSS said. The Senate Education Committee is scheduled to debate the literacy bill this Wednesday.

“Tennessee’s literacy rates are at crisis-level lows with only 34.9 percent of students reading on grade level. The life-long challenges created through reading gaps disproportionately impact Tennessee’s most marginalized students. We need a bold and urgent response to these issues if we are to chart a new path to success for hundreds of thousands of students,” said TSS President & CEO Adam Lister. “Adding to the already desperate and critical need for intervention, a global pandemic deepened the discrepancy in literacy rates and further accentuated tragic learning inequities for low-income students and students of color. We are Tennesseans; we have a history of taking bold steps in confronting challenges. We appreciate Governor Lee’s leadership and applaud his taking action to elevate and prioritize these issues through a special session. We look forward to working with the Tennessee General Assembly and Governor Lee to create and adopt bold solutions to improve student learning and success.”