published Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Tennessee Senate passes bill forcing schools to end 'social promotion'

NASHVILLE — Tennessee schools would be forced to end “social promotion” of third graders under a bill that zipped past the Senate today.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, passed on a 31-0 vote.

Burks said there are about 45,000 public school students who are socially promoted, that is, allowed to enter the next grade despite not having the skills necessary.

Her bill says that, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, a student in the third grade cannot be promoted to fourth grade unless he or she has shown a “basic understanding of curriculum and ability to perform the skills required in the subject of reading as demonstrated by the student’s grades or standardized test.”

Dealing with the entire problem proved to be too expensive.: A fiscal analysis showed it would cost the state an estimated $175 million a year and local governments about $92.6 million.

So Burks restricted its effect to third grade, which analysts said doesn’t have a significant cost.

“If a child cannot read, they can’t pass their reading proficiency by the third grade, they’re just going to fall further and further behind,” Burks said.

The bill is expected to come before the House on Thursday.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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woody said...

One grade down..only eleven more to go....

TTFN, Woody

May 18, 2011 at 1:54 p.m.
Leaf said...

I don't see why that decision can't be left up to the people on the ground. When dealing with education and children, it seems like applying cookie cutter solutions will virtually guarantee that some kids get screwed over.

May 18, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.
My2centsworth said...

You have to be kidding, this is one of the stupidest thing I have ever heard or seen. Restricting this bill to the 3rd grade only? Because it "restricted its effect to third grade, which analysts said doesn’t have a significant cost".

OMG - 'Social Promotion', next they will want 'Social Justice' (oh wait, the Demoncrats -Obama- preach that, perhaps Social Faith, or Social Homes, or Social Cities, or Social States, OR a Social Country.

Wow - Promoting school children just to move them along, what happened to teaching??? What happened to Education? What kind of education are you trying to give our future generations? YOU send kids to High School who cannot read, write, spell, or do math and expect them to do well? Then you expect these uneducated children to muddle through and get Socially Promoted onto College? I will just be you also want them to be Socially Promoted into the REAL WORLD to Socially Promotable things?

WELL Sen. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey, you can make DAM* sure that you will have all of these Socially Promoted children on your door step trying to get you to Socially Take Care Of Them because not one will be able to take care of themselves. I hope you have enough money set aside for this and a big enough house, cause you are going to need it.

This is just another example of the American Politician at work. If you cannot do Something RIGHT then throw Something out and show that you did Something. Like Nancy Polosie says, "Pass the Bill and we will figure it out later". OH wait, I SEE, Sen. Charlotte Burk must be a product of this Social Promotion, that explains a lot.

I apologize, I cannot continue with this as I am really starting to get mad about STUPID politicians and their lack of any real thought of the American Peoples true needs. If I was the Senator I would hang my head in SHAME.

USSA is one day closer.

May 18, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.
crow1033 said...
<p>@my2centsworth....obviously, you should have been held back in the 3rd grade because you can't write a complete sentence, spell nor read with comprehension. All of the rants in your post are exactly what this bill is about. It was a bill to STOP social promotion, not encourage it! Read the article before you post idiotic responses that have nothing to do with "Nancy Polosie" whoever that is!

May 18, 2011 at 4:40 p.m.
EaTn said...

Wow, a piece of legislation that's a first step to help ensure our kids don't get passed to a grade and never develop literate skills. But wait..doesn't that jeopardize the right-wing keeping their majority down the road?

May 18, 2011 at 6:03 p.m.
bapman1 said...

This is a very positive development - third grade is something of a gateway. It's the point at which they're supposed ot shift from "learning to read" to "reading to learn". If a child hasn't learned to read by this point, they'll have a very difficult time going forward. For more on this subject and the implications, see

May 19, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
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