NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - Governor Bill Lee’s weekly COVID-19 briefing focused heavily on the pandemic’s impact on education and students across Tennessee.
Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn cited recent data showing an estimated 50-percent decrease in deficiency in third-grade reading and an estimated 65-percent decrease in deficiency in third-grade math.
Schwinn said the “summer slide” is expected when students are out of school for summer break, but the extended pandemic school closures, which began in March and continue with many schools adopting virtual learning models, have had a significant impact on Tennessee’s students.
“We know that increased time away from school has negative implications for students, which is compounded during extended building closures,” said Schwinn. “The department is focused on ensuring we provide essential services and resources to mitigate learning loss and keep students on a path to success this new school year.”
Schwinn said projections show the learning loss from March through the summer is expected to be 2.5 times higher than the normal summer rate. Younger students are more affected than later grades, placing them further behind in the learning trajectory as they advance in grades and exacerbating achievement gaps.
“This data highlights the immense challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created for our students and educators,” said Lee. “The vast majority of students learn best in-person with their teacher, and we’ll continue to help provide a safe environment for Tennessee students to get their educational journeys back on track.”