Lee calls special session for Jan. 19

The House meets at the state Capitol in Nashville on June 1, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee is calling a special session the week of Jan. 19 to address a range of education issues, including a literacy proposal that has run into trouble with lawmakers in the past.

Lawmakers will be in town anyway, as they as scheduled to gavel in the 112th General Assembly on Jan. 12.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee today announced a call for the Tennessee General Assembly to convene for a special legislative session on January 19, 2021 to address urgent issues facing Tennessee students and schools in the 2021-22 school year.

Preliminary data projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math. This loss only exacerbates issues that existed prior to the pandemic, where only one third of Tennessee third graders were reading on grade level.

“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense disruption for Tennessee’s students, educators, and districts, and the challenges they face must be addressed urgently,” said Gov. Lee. “Even before the virus hit, and despite years of improvement, too many of our state’s students were still unable to read on grade level. I’m calling on the legislature to join us in addressing these serious issues so we can equip our hardworking educators and districts with the resources and supports they need to set our students on the path to success.”

“As we have heard from districts since March, students need their teachers and schools like never before,” said Department of Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “No child’s future should suffer academically because of COVID-19. Not only as commissioner, but as a mother of two school-aged children, I am grateful for the bold solutions that our governor and legislature will provide for our students and schools across the state and the department stands ready to work together to accomplish this mission-critical work.”

“In addition to presenting a public health crisis and disrupting our economy, the coronavirus also created enormous obstacles for our parents, teachers and students. Tennessee has made tremendous improvements in education over the last decade. The virus has begun to put all of that at risk,” said Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge). “It is of paramount importance that we take steps to reverse the learning loss that has taken place and prevent any further erosion of our progress. I appreciate Governor Lee calling this special session to draw our focus on the pressing needs of education in this state. The Senate will work with the House and the Administration to address these issues in an expeditious and efficient manner to the benefit of our students and our teachers.”

“I support Gov. Lee’s call for a special session on education,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville). “The pandemic has caused considerable disruption for our students, teachers and schools.  Our goal is to make sure students are learning in the classroom, teachers have the resources they need, and our students have additional assistance in their educational journeys to improve their chances of success.”

“Over the past few years Tennessee has seen exciting growth in student achievement and we must take all necessary steps to make sure our students continue to learn through this ongoing pandemic,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin). “I salute the governor for calling us into special session to address this important problem and thank him for his continued commitment to education.”

“As a parent of two children in the public school system and a Representative of so many thousands of other families, I know it is critical for us to have the best education system in the nation,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland). “I appreciate the Governor calling us into Special Session to ensure our children and teachers have the support they need in these difficult times.”

During the special session, the legislature will be tasked to take up five key education issues: Learning Loss, Funding, Accountability, Literacy, and Teacher Pay. Details on each proposal will be released by the Department of Education in the near future, in addition to the department’s plans to implement a new literacy program, “Reading 360.” The program will leverage one-time federal relief funding to support a phonics-based approach to literacy and will ensure Tennessee districts, teachers, and families are equipped with tools and resources to help students read on grade level by third grade.

52 Responses to Lee calls special session for Jan. 19

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Government Schools are nothing other than the government indoctrination system posing as an education system.
    They are Planned to Fail. So Fail they will do. Government Schools can not be fixed.

    • Avatar
      Jonathan Swift says:

      So I guess you went to public school.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      Can you name an alternative k-12 education system, James, that does not indoctrinate?

      • Avatar
        James White says:

        Local schools not supported by the state OR federal government. Home School would be best.

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          MARLE says:

          And you don’t think parents indoctrinate their children. R U kidding me? Islamic parents, Jewish parents, Evangelical parents, Catholic parents? Undocumented parents, DAR parents, Amish parents, Black parents, White parents? No indoctrination, right????

          • Avatar
            James White says:

            Yes, I hope parents indoctrinate their children. “Those in society who are in charge of schools must never forget that the parents have been appointed by God himself as the first and principal educators of their children and that their right is completely inalienable.”
            — Pope John Paul II
            [Karol Józef Wojtyla] (1920-2005) Polish-born Roman Catholic Pope (1978-2005)
            Like

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            So indoctrination that YOU like is good. Other indoctrination is bad. See James….that is never going to fly as a gold standard.

            Yes parents are the first educators but that certainly does not mean they are not indoctrinating their children. I thought your comment was about INDOCTRINATION.

          • Avatar
            James White says:

            No, my comment was about Government indoctrination.

          • Avatar
            MARLE says:

            Yes, and that means that all other indoctrination favoring specific religious beliefs (no matter how extreme) ethnic or other biases are GOOD while all government indoctrination is bad.

            My children used to say the pledge before each school day…government indoctrination. BAD BAD BAD, I suppose

  • Avatar
    Charles says:

    I think White didn’t go to school. He just wishes to parrot the diatribe of the extreme Right.

  • Avatar
    MARLE says:

    Gotta love Lamberth. He applauds the special session “I know it is critical for us to have the best education system in the nation,” as if TN has ever had anything close to that in the best of times.

    Is he really thinking a special session is going to deliver the undeliverable? Why not aim for a reasonable goal which,, nonetheless, would represent an improvement? Mediocrity.

  • Avatar
    steve cates says:

    Anytime this group is “in session”, there’s trouble. This state runs best when they are FAR from Nashville.

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    One of the most thankless tasks in life is to make any institution run by government run efficiently insofar as it is operated in a marketplace dominated by political considerations rather than the considerations present in a free market. The difficulty in the task is compounded, of course, when we are dealing with a government monopoly. Government schools suffer from this disability, but in addition they are dealing with children who are largely formed before they enter the school building and are very difficult to change.

    Success in school is determined by such heritable qualities as temperament and intelligence as well as environmental factors like respect for learning that is so much a part of certain group’s ethos and so terribly missing in others. In short, it’s much easier to rack up comparative enviable government school statistics in Iowa than it is in Tennessee and that’s before any special session convenes or the schoolhouse doors open.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    The Governor, Mayors and Health Departments closed the In-Person school, not COVID. Some of the parents had to Home School and I would think some of them can see the Difference between Home School and Government school and will decide NOT to send their child back to the Un-Godly Communistic (plank 10 of the communist manifesto) school.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Or if they simply must send their child to a government school or a private school infested with leftist tendencies, they equip their child with the intellectual armament necessary to resist and view with healthy skepticism the leftist indoctrination that is sure to come.

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        No one who consumes a daily diet of Fox and heritage memos should be an indoctrination-denier. Glass houses and all……….

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          NOOOOOOO MARLE! I am obviously an indoctrination ADVOCATE. No child should be turned loose in a government school or a tony leftist private school without parents at the earliest age when the child is old enough to root for a team telling the child he is a “REPUBLICAN” then as the child ages taking every opportunity as FOX News is on the TV and elections come and go filling in the reason why. As a result once the child enters school he will sniff our leftist nonsense before the teacher finishes the sentence within which it is uttered.

          Some men dream of their mythical child being a great athlete. I have just revealed my dream for my mythical child.

          • Avatar
            Taxpayer #314 says:

            …And some men dream of their mythical “HONEST (R) POLITICIAN” but that hasn’t happened yet.

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      The author of our great American Democracy Manifesto Thomas Jefferson did not believe in the God most Christians know. Jefferson rejected the notion of the Trinity and Jesus’ divinity. He rejected Biblical miracles, the resurrection, the atonement, and original sin (believing that God could not fault or condemn all humanity for the sins of others, a gross injustice). In neither the eighteenth century nor today would most people consider a person with those views a “Christian.”

      So when a Christian parent home school his children about most things he is indeed indoctrinating them. Thomas Jefferson would certainly think so.

  • Avatar
    MARLE says:

    And as a product of 12 years of Catholic schools I don’t regard the Pope as a definite word on the matter of good bad or indifferent indoctrination. A hour every day/180 days per yr for 12 years….yes I know a little something about indoctrination in settings other than government public schools.

    • Avatar
      James White says:

      “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” James Madison

      “I am a real christian-that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ”.
      The wirtings of Thomas Jefferson, p385.

      “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. – Patrick Henry

      “Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.” – John Jay

      Tennessee 1796, Art. XI.III ~ That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience…

      “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

      “Do not let any one claim to be a true American if they ever attempt to remove religion from politics.” — George Washington

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        He did not believe that Jesus was more than a great teacher with principals he agreed with. No divinity. No son of God. Morality, yes. God-centered, yes. Christianity with a belief in Jesus as divine with resurrection and savior, NO

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        I believe, James, you have been indoctrinated with false perceptions of who Jefferson actually was. A great example of being a victim of indoctrination

        • Avatar
          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          All of which reminds me of a joke I came up when I lived in Dallas, Texas. Dallas had a Catholic Church called “Christ the King” so I thought it would be a great idea if the Unitarians located a competing church nearby called “Christ the Good Ole Boy.” Funny?

      • Avatar
        MARLE says:

        And tossing in GW calling for religion in politics when that is the total OPPOSITE of what Jefferson believed is really intellectually desperate and irrelevant.

        • Avatar
          James White says:

          Actually GW is my favorite president, and TJ is on one the least, Can’t get over him being in France during the French Revolution and then coming back supporting the Jacobins.
          Oh, and they all said what they said. deal with it

        • Avatar
          MARLE says:

          But my comment you were responding to was about Jefferson. Intellectually lame. Consistent, at least.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Oh how little the conservative Tennesseans trust our TN public schools, teachers and learning levels of our students. Do they not understand that all these public schools they condemn have been managed and funded by those high heritage number republicans they love so much? Then they blame someone else- just like trump. It gets old quick.

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      No as usual Taxpayer. The Government School Trust is, and always have been, populated with liberals who simply gravitate to that industry and are in charge of the day to day operation of the schools. One would think that the school boards who are elected by the people would reign in the liberals but few citizens have the time or interest to examine those who run for the school boards in their district so in the non-partisan elections for school board few show up to vote and even fewer know the ideology of the candidates running. Bottom Line: Liberals find their way onto the school boards as well thus making it a trifecta of liberal control even in Tennessee; school boards, educational bureaucrats, teacher’s unions = The Government School Trust.

      • Avatar
        Taxpayer #314 says:

        No as usual Stuart, You want the public to believe…the liberals have absolute control of all the school systems in an otherwise completely republican-run state! What you say makes no sense at all. Surely with all the republicans we have in charge they are not all bad managers with those high heritage scores, isn’t that what counts?

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  • Avatar
    Phillip Lassiter says:

    Let’s just make sure we give lots of good raises to people who don’t go to work. That should be the main objective of any government body meeting to conduct business.

  • Avatar
    Misty Pardner says:

    They will already be in session. Dog and pony show that will accomplish nothing except add some per diem to their bank accounts.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Anyone with a brain would think, that if They wanted to Fix the problem they would, but they don’t.

    • Avatar
      Misty Pardner says:

      They cannot. Tennessee and America’s problems are beyond the mental capacity of most of the elected and appointed. There are some some deep thinkers in the GA but the ideologues on both sides are dragging the future of our country down the political drain.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice for the new year to have the republicans in this state come together and actually do something to address this Pandemic. We need Mass Vaccination Events with urgently all across Tennessee. This should be the priority for our “leaders.” Less than 2% of our state population has been vaccinated so far and people are dying in large numbers every day! How’s that Pro Life?

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    And in Michigan, four judges in the state supreme court struck down the state’s Emergency Powers of the Governor Act, which had been in place since 1945, on the grounds that it violated the Michigan constitution.

  • Avatar
    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    And in Tennessee today marks the end of the odious Hall Income Tax on dividends and interest, in other words, on savings. Thank you Republican super majority! Now all we need is another constitutional amendment to make it difficult for our liberal friends ever to impose that tax again.

    • Avatar
      Taxpayer #314 says:

      Libertarian Conservatives want to be able to pass laws that forbids anyone else from ever passing a law that they don’t like. Say what? Spoken like a true republican.

      • Avatar
        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        “Make it more difficult” vs. “forbids.” Subtle differences in words in the English language that libertarian conservatives can appreciate because they are sensitive individuals as opposed to leftists who spend their days emotionally emoting making the appreciation of subtle differences almost impossible.

  • Avatar
    Taxpayer #314 says:

    Splitting hairs, just like your gerrymandering arguments. And I repeat, spoken like a true republican.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

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