General Assembly Concludes Special Session, Passes Literacy, Learning Loss Legislation

Tennessee State Capitol Building on a cloudy day.

Governor Bill Lee called the General Assembly into special legislative session last week. Legislation was passed related to literacy, K-12 student learning loss, education accountability measures, and teacher pay during the four-day special session. Along with an appropriations bill, three pieces of legislation now go to the Governor for signature.

First, the Tennessee Literacy Success Act (Senate Bill 7003/House Bill 7002) aims to improve early childhood literacy rates by providing support to educators and requiring schools to use a phonics-based approach in reading instruction. The bill includes a section that will require educator preparation programs to align to certain foundational literacy skills standards for their graduates to become licensed in the state of Tennessee. With only one-third of Tennessee third graders reading on grade-level, UT is committed to leading on literacy education. UT shared with the General Assembly their ongoing commitment to preparing high-quality teachers, particularly in the critical area of literacy instruction.

Next, the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act (Senate Bill 7002/House Bill 7004) establishes after-school and summer learning camps to remediate student learning loss. It also creates the Tennessee Accelerated Literacy and Learning Corps to provide ongoing tutoring for students during the school year. Finally, legislation that addresses K-12 assessments and accountability (Senate Bill 7001/House Bill 7003) will “hold harmless” the accountability measures for K-12 public school teachers and schools this school year.

For the next two weeks, the legislature will be taking a break from legislative activities to move offices and conduct other organizational business. The House Finance, Ways, & Means Committee will hold select budget hearings during this period. The 112th General Assembly will return to regular business on Monday, February 8 for Governor Bill Lee’s State of the State Address.

Mark Your Calendars

January 28 – Tennessee Higher Education Commission Winter Meeting
February 8 – The 112th General Assembly Returns
February 8 – Governor Bill Lee’s State of the State Address
February 10 – UT Day on the Hill (Virtual Edition)

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