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Kentucky school districts consider supplemental ‘do-over’ year for students

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Senate Bill 128, also known as the “do-over” bill would allow students in Kentucky to repeat the school year if they choose. Even though Governor Andy Beshear signed it into law in late March, school districts have the final say in whether to implement the measure.

Dawne Perkins, the founder of the groups Let Them Play and Let Them Learn, told WAVE 3 News SB 128 would give students K through 12 the chance to hit the rewind button and catch up on all that they may have lost during the pandemic, including academics, social skills, and athletics for high schoolers.

“Although a lot of people want to make the emphasis about sports, that’s only part of it,” Perkins said. “It’s about resetting education. It’s about first of all, understanding and accepting that things are different. We just can’t make excuses. We have to roll up our sleeves. This is the future generation of Kentucky.”

Many school districts, including Jefferson County Public Schools, have posted sign-ups for families to fill out if their student wishes to repeat the 2020-2021 school year. So far, 126 JCPS students have expressed interest, according to a JCPS spokesperson.

Despite that, JCPS superintendent Dr. Mary Pollio is on the fence about the benefits of a do-over year.

“It is one that I would say is not for all families, without a doubt, and I do have to say the research is very questionable on repeating and retaining as to how that impacts students long-term,” Pollio said during a recent JCPS Board of Education meeting.

By law, school districts must either allow every student interested to repeat the year or none at all. JCPS and other districts like Bullitt County Public Schools have presented the information to their education boards and have until June 1 to make a decision.

Perkins told WAVE 3 News a repeat year could be beneficial for students who need it.

“In my opinion and in my opinion only, if somebody says ‘No, we’re not going to do Senate Bill 128,’ it means you’re saying every student K through 12 in your school district is ready for the next level, and that’s just not the case,” Perkins said. “It’s not just academic, it’s socially, it’s mentally, it’s physically; it’s emotionally,” she added. “You’re either for kids or you’re not, and I’m not meaning that in a disrespectful way, but right now kids need us, and this is an opportunity to do what’s best for kids.”

Many school districts are taking requests from parents to gauge interest. Parents have until May 1 to sign up for the repeat year.

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