Accountability Betsy DeVos Florida Lies School Choice Separation of church and state Tennessee Vouchers

Tennessee: Showdown Over Vouchers

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Governor Bill Lee has proposed a voucher program. Teachers and parents are outraged. —but not enough of them.

When the bill moved from the House to the Senate,  the number of vouchers were doubled to 30,000.

The money for vouchers will be subtracted from public schools, which educate 90% of the children of Tennessee. Expect more segregation, more bigotry, more children taught by uncertified teachers, more state-sponsored ignorance of science and history. Expect budget cuts in public schools, larger classes, no money for higher salaries, layoffs for teachers, school nurses, librarians, counselors, the arts.

Betsy DeVos visited Tennessee last week to promote vouchers, and she flatly lied about Florida’s test scores, which are mediocre. She claimed that achievement in Florida had gone up because of the $3 billion that the state spends each year on vouchers and charters. Not true. Surely she is well aware of the voucher studies in D.C., Milwaukee, Ohio, Louisiana, and Indiana showing that students who use vouchers do no better or much worse in school than their peers who remain in public schools.

Florida’s performance on NAEP is mediocre, except for fourth grade, where scores are artificially inflated by the state policy of holding back low-scoring third graders.

Quote of the day:

“‘We don’t have the luxury of worrying about a handful of children,” said Knox County teacher Lauren Hobson, speaking to another crowd assembled by the Tennessee Democratic Party. “We have to worry about the 90% of the children across the country left in schools with us.”

“Hobson and other critics believe underfunding is the real battle in public schools.

“‘Our legislators actually have a constitutional duty in Tennessee to maintain and support a public education,” she said. “They have no duty to support private education.’”

Read that last line again. She is right. Republican legislators in Tennessee, Florida, Indiana, and other states are ignoring their constitutional duty “to maintain and support public education,” not private schools.


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