KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs released a statement on Knox County literacy rates Tuesday morning.
The statement comes after the Tennesse Department of Education said that on the English Language Arts portion of the TCAP exam, 23.98% of KCS students scored below the threshold, 33.12% scored approaching the threshold, 27.74% met the threshold and 15.16% exceeded the threshold.
You can read the statement below.
"Knox County is seeing important academic gains this year. Countywide, third-grade English language arts proficiency increased 11%, meaning 42.9% of students—more than the state average—met or exceeded the state literacy standard. Factor in students who retested and those exempt from interventions, and the number of third graders meeting the advancement criteria goes up to 70%.
Of course, the goal is for every third grader to meet and/or exceed the expectations to move onto fourth grade, so we still have a long way to go, but it is exciting to see things moving in the right direction.
These third graders were first graders during the pandemic, so a lot of what they need to be successful readers like phonics and speech-language was taught through a computer screen or a mask.
Our teachers—with the support of school administration, Superintendent Jon Rysewyk, and the community—have worked diligently to improve important foundational skills and early literacy instruction. Clearly, that work is paying off and we should celebrate their victory.
It’s important to remember that the responsibility to teach kids doesn’t belong to schools alone; it belongs to everyone. That’s why I’m grateful to our public libraries and the community for jumping whole-heartedly into the Read City USA programs and accepting the challenge to become the best-read community in America.
It’s easy to get lost in percentages when we talk about growth in education, but the fact is that improving literacy is good for Knox County. Strong readers become successful students who are more likely to graduate high school. High school graduates are more likely to seek continuing education, get good jobs, and start their lives here—in the community that raised them.”
A KCS spokesperson said a total of 4,461 students are enrolled in the third grade across Knox County.
Read City USA was started by Jacobs in 2019 to help increase literacy rates.