Nashville, TN – A group of outraged and concerned Nashville parents have joined the Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment’s statewide campaign to change the third grade retention law. The Nashville component of the campaign is encouraging parents of public school children in grades third and below, as well as any concerned Nashville residents, to join a Town Hall on Wednesday, February 8 at 6:30 pm at Woodbine United Methodist Church.

The town hall will educate families about how the law will affect them, discuss the amendments to change the law, and mobilize parents to urge lawmakers to fix this punishing law. With many amendment bills already filed, parents are urging the General Assembly to pass a bill that actually addresses the core flaws of the law, like the joint bills HB0107/ SB1306 filed by Rep. Travis and Sen. Bailey.

“Our community is still recovering from two years of isolation and our government has given themselves the patience to rebuild after the pandemic,” said Cat Carrillo, the parent of a first grader at Aventura Community School in southeast Nashville. “Our children deserve the same patience and support.”

Another parent, Sarah Parker, explained how the law could affect her child: “It’s inappropriate to put 8 and 9 year olds under so much stress. I’ve tried really hard not to even let my daughter know yet how big a deal this is. She could have a really anxious morning and totally bomb that test, and that shouldn’t mean she doesn’t get to go to fourth grade.”

Last year, the TN State Assembly passed the third grade retention law that, if implemented this summer, will force an estimated 72% of third graders at Metro Nashville Public Schools to either repeat third grade or enroll in mandatory summer school and after-school tutoring next school year. This law reduces the assessment of a child’s performance to a single standardized test, ignoring their performance in the classroom and undemocratically cutting out parents and educators from the decision to hold back a student. In March, the TN State Assembly will have the opportunity to amend the Third Grade Retention Law.