Tennessee is Giving Away the Farm

School vouchers will siphon funds from already starved public schools

Andy Spears
2 min readMar 29, 2024
Photo by Michael Bourgault on Unsplash

Tennessee policymakers appear poised to follow Gov. Bill Lee’s lead and pass legislation that will provide universal school vouchers. This type of wholesale privatization of public schools has been tried in states like Arizona, and the results have been pretty grim.

Of course, Lee does not seem concerned about the facts. Facts such as data from Tennessee’s own pilot program showing vouchers don’t actually improve student achievement.

Similar results in other states also do not deter Lee from pursuing a voucher scheme expected to cost $141 million in the first year and up to $300 million in year two.

This is money that won’t be available for other budget needs.

Key votes are expected in the coming weeks. While there have been delays, it seems likely the bill will eventually become law.




Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .