Investigation launched after 65 students fail end-of-year chemistry test

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - An investigation was launched into an SCS school after dozens of students failed a year-end state test in chemistry.

A substitute teacher at Booker T. Washington High School was allowed to teach a chemistry class for more than half of the school year. None of the 65 students who took the test scored proficiently.

"That's really a reflection on the system itself," said Sarah Maclin, who is a mother. "We're not following through."

Shelby County Schools board member Chris Caldwell, who represents the area that includes Booker T. Washington High School, said he is most disappointed in the effect this has on the students.

"When you don't have a good foundation in a subject like chemistry, if you want to be a doctor, if you want to be anything in the medical field, it's virtually impossible to catch up on foundational subjects," Caldwell said.

Tennessee law says a substitute teacher must be licensed to teach in that subject if they are going to teach a core class longer than 20 days. It is unclear whether the teacher had that license. An investigation into the legality of that situation is not yet complete.

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