Tennessee’s Voucher Vulture Feeding Frenzy

Gov. Bill Lee just keeps adding voucher vultures to his senior leadership team. He’s already tapped former state Rep. Bill Dunn to serve as an advisor (and possible future Commissioner) in the Education Department. Now, he’s added defeated state Rep. John DeBerry to a Cabinet post paying $168,000 a year.

DeBerry is a long-time supporter of school voucher schemes who lost a re-election bid this year. His loss was attributed in part to his consistent support for “disruption” in public education.

Here’s some of what Lee had to say in a press release:

“John DeBerry is a respected leader and man of faith who has served our state with integrity for decades as both a legislator and civil rights champion,” said Gov. Lee. “John has fought to protect life, provide better education options for Tennessee students, and to reform our criminal justice system and I’m honored to have his counsel within the Cabinet.”

One thing DeBerry does not have faith in is Tennessee teachers. Anyone who has sat in a House Education Committee meeting for very long has surely heard DeBerry denigrate teachers in our state, it’s pretty much his favorite topic. When he wasn’t busy attacking teachers or public schools, he was finding new ways to work with school privatizers to send public money to private schools. Dark money groups like Tennesseans for Student Success loved candidates like John DeBerry, because he made them look bipartisan.

Now, DeBerry and Dunn will be advising Lee on ways to advance a voucher and charter agenda.

For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

Originally published at http://tnedreport.com on December 1, 2020.

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN

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