The land of make believe is apparently where Gov. Bill Lee and his team go to find justification for their bad public policy. WMC-TV out of Memphis has the story about how the Lee Administration is using old data from a study based on projections to justify a demand that schools return to in-person learning.
Despite new data suggesting COVID-19 learning loss wasn’t as severe as predicted, state leaders continue to use old data, which some have called misleading, to pressure school districts like Shelby County Schools to reopen for in-person classes.
The ACTUAL data from students suggests any “loss” of ground due to the pandemic is relatively minimal. Lending credence to claims made by Nashville blogger TC Weber and others that the entire concept of “learning loss” is pretty much ridiculous.
Shelby County Schools also released its own data in November, showing that while learning loss did occur in reading and math, it wasn’t as bad as predicted.
For instance, 28% of students placed below grade level in reading compared to 27% historically.
In math, 29% of students placed below grade level compared to 23% historically.
Despite the newer data, the governor and his administration continue to use projections from the April NWEA study to pressure school districts like SCS to reopen to in-person classes.
Calling out hypocrisy
Shelby County Schools Superintendent Joris Ray noted that while calling for students to return to in-person learning, Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn appeared via video to legislators:
“Watching state leaders call for in-person learning on the state legislature’s virtual video meeting today sends a mixed and hypocritical message. We invite state leaders to step away from privileged podiums and try to understand the many concerns of our students, parents, and teachers,” Ray said.
Whether it is Bill Haslam’s Commissioner of Education telling tales about TNReady or Bill Lee’s Commissioner appearing virtually using make believe data to push for in-person learning, Tennessee’s recent history indicates education policy is made independent of actual facts.
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