Education in virus era dominates Tennessee special session

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, responding to educational challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, directed state lawmakers Tuesday to quickly pass teacher pay raises and adopt a new reading benchmark for students to pass third grade.

But the Republican governor also had harsh remarks for schools that had rebuffed his push for in-person learning, declaring that those districts were not using science to make such decisions — a criticism that has sparked objections from Democratic lawmakers and education advocates.

“You can’t say follow the science and keep school closed,” Lee said. “You can’t say I believe in public education and keep schools closed. And you can’t saying you’re putting the needs of students first and keep schools closed.”

Lee’s remarks to the Republican supermajority Legislature kicked off a special session he called to focus on educational issues posed by the coronavirus. The state’s top education officials have warned

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