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Gov. Lee: No negative impacts on teachers and students from yearly tests and evaluations

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said he would propose a measure that would ensure teachers and students receive no negative impacts from yearly testing this year.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Educators across East Tennessee breathed a sigh of relief today, in what some are calling a good first step. 

Governor Bill Lee said he would propose a measure that would make sure teachers and students do not receive negative impacts from yearly testing and evaluations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's a step in the right direction the situation though is that we shouldn't be giving the test at all," said Rep. Gloria Johnson.

Some teachers still worry the tests are a distraction from their real goal — catching up on what students missed while schools were closed.

"You're going to have to spend weeks practicing for a test, and then you're taking this test. That's just a lot of time teachers could teaching and that kids could be learning and catching up on what they missed," Christy Bruchey said, a teacher and parent in Knox County Schools.

Tanya coats, President of the Knox County Education Association said the tests could cause consequences for students.

"If you really want to do something for the whole huddle, you got to include the kids that are in the middle because that's who it's going to harm — the kids in the middle," Coats said.

Our testing and accountability structure is incredibly important, but should look different this year to reflect the...

Posted by Gov. Bill Lee on Friday, October 16, 2020

RELATED: Gov. Lee says student assessments shouldn't be held against teachers this school year

However, Johnson said it is simply unfair to test students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"This is a standardized test, and in order for a standardized test to be valid you have to give it in a standard fashion. There's nothing standardized about a pandemic," said Johnson.

Coats said that it's an environment where the test takers can't excel at their highest levels. She said the COVID-19 panemic could have placed new stress on them, or they may have had to miss class due to it.

The educators don't believe the move goes far enough, but call it a good sign for a very crucial part of the education system

"But you at least strengthen up a piece of it by taking off undue stress from educators, and all I can say again is thank you to the Governor," said Coats.