Rise & Shine: Third grade reading scores dip as Memphis builds case to hold back students

Good morning,

The latest third grade reading scores for Shelby County Schools are disappointing evidence that district officials are using to build a case for retaining students.  Just 24% of third graders scored proficient in reading on the state's TNReady tests for the 2018-19 school year. That’s down from about 27% from the previous year, and lower than the 36% of students statewide who tested proficient. Read our feature story to learn what school officials say about a new retention policy that will hold back second grade students who aren’t reading on grade level. The policy will begin in the 2021-22 school year.

— Jacinthia Jones, bureau chief

SCORES DIP Fewer Memphis third grade students than last year are accomplished readers, according to Shelby County Schools’ annual state test data discussed in meetings with parents. Chalkbeat

BUS TROUBLES Late buses, missed stops — these are some of the usual challenges at the beginning of a new school year, Hamilton County Schools officials say, but this year there is the added challenge of working with a new transportation vendor. Chattanooga Times Free Press

LEAD TESTING State-mandated tests of drinking water in public schools found high levels of lead in Alcoa and Blount County buildings. The Daily Times

HEAD START A new study questions whether Head Start still produces long-run gains seen in past research. Chalkbeat
TESTING SCRAPPED Amid an ongoing teacher shortage, Illinois will scrap a basic skills test that it has long required aspiring teachers to pass but that critics have argued poses a barrier to candidates of color. Chalkbeat