Efforts to Privatize Tennessee Public Schools Persist Despite Legislative Delay
Aggressive advance of charter schools, expansion of vouchers on tap this legislative session
Efforts to privatize Tennessee’s public schools were deferred today in a key House Committee.
The privatization push includes potential expansion of school vouchers into Knoxville and the other would open the doors for charter schools to operate in districts without first being subject to local review.
More from The Education Report:
This bill ( HB433), as currently written, would expand the state’s school voucher program (known as Education Savings Accounts, or ESAs) to Chattanooga. Currently, the voucher scheme only applies to students in Memphis and Nashville.
It’s bad enough that some policymakers are ready to expand this privatization program to another Tennessee school district. However, what’s even more alarming is that Education Administration Committee Chair Mark White has filed an amendment to expand the program even further — this time into Knoxville.
As you might recall, I wrote about an amendment to the charter legislation that would:
- Create a scheme for allowing charter schools that serve homeschooled students
- Allow for the creation of residential/boarding schools that are charter schools
These new charters would also be able to bypass local school boards and apply directly to Bill Lee’s State Charter Commission for approval.
That would mean zero local input and zero local accountability — even though millions of local tax dollars would be spent supporting these charter schools.
It’s important to look at these pieces of legislation for what they are: A clear agenda.
Gov. Lee and his legislative allies want to privatize our public schools.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport
Originally published at http://tnedreport.com on March 22, 2023.