Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee announced his support for school choice and charter schools during a Facebook Live interview with the Beacon Center in Nashville on Thursday. The Williamson County businessman has made education one of the key themes of his campaign.
Justin Owen, President of the Beacon Center, interviewed Bill Lee one-on-one at the Beacon Center’s studios in Nashville on Thursday for about 13 minutes. It was the first of a series of Facebook Live interviews the Beacon Center plans to conduct with every major candidate for governor in Tennessee.
Lee responded to a question posed by Jacob from Nolensville, relayed to him by Owen.
“What will you do, if anything, to expand K-12 school choice to get at those education reforms?” Owen asked of Lee.
“I had children that were home schooled, and were educated in private school, and were educated in public school. The reason that we had different kids educated different ways in my family is that I really do believe fundamentally that how my children are educated and where they are educated those decisions are best made at home, so parents need choices and they need options,” Lee said.
“So I would be a strong advocate for school choice in every area of the state,” Lee continued.
Owen followed up with another question.
“Every time we go up to the Legislature to push for this, we hit taxpayer-funded lobbyists.”
“Is there an opportunity to rein that in?” Owen asked Lee of tax payer funded opposition to school choice legislation.
“There is an opportunity there to bring to light to how that works if taxpayers understand their dollars were used to lobby and entertain. . . It really should be stopped,” Lee said.
Lee also discussed some of the details of his road map for rural Tennessee with Owen.
“One of the four points [of the road map for rural Tennessee] is called the dignity of work,” Lee said.
“There’s dignity in allowing people to work,” he added, noting that “the licensure requirements in the state are onerous at times.”
“We need to free up people to work,” Lee said.
Lee continued on that theme of educational reform the following day.
“Every parent in this state should have multiple, high quality education options available for their children . . . That means expanded school choice options like charters schools, but it also means strongly supporting traditional public schools. Vouchers have potential, but it is just one tool of many in our toolbox, ” the Associated Press reported Lee said in a statement emailed to them on Friday.
You can watch the full Beacon Center Facebook Live interview with Bill Lee here, beginning at the 1:55 mark: