State Senator Ken Yager (R-TN-12) said he will not support school vouchers if they come up for a vote in the Tennessee Legislature in 2019, the Independent Herald of Oneida said.
“I am opposed to vouchers,” Yager said. “I will not support any proposal that will cause a hemorrhage of needed funds to our schools.”
“One of the arguments on behalf of vouchers is freedom of choice,” Yager said. “I happen to believe we already have that choice. It’s called parental choice. You can send your kids to charter school if you want to, or to a private school, or you can home-school them or send them to a public school. The choice is already there.
Gov.-elect Bill Lee campaigned on school choice. Yager’s statement would appear to go against what Lee has said is a priority, but will Lee follow through on his campaign promise?
On the Dec. 11 Tennessee Star Report with Steve Gill and Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. – the men analyzed Lee’s cabinet picks and the absence of any conservatives. They also discussed whether Lee would honor his “school choice” campaign pledge.
Leahy said it would be the most important policy issue. Both men agreed school choice would be the best option for the state. Gill said that Lee’s new policy director, Tony Niknejad, has promoted vouchers and school choice.
More of their conversation is available here.
The topic continues to draw interest in Tennessee.
The Beacon Center on Dec. 10 hosted a meeting in Jackson on school choice issues in the upcoming legislative session for 2019, The Star reported.
Taylor Dawson, outreach coordinator for the Beacon Center, spoke about the organization’s legislative goals regarding school choice and the ways in which volunteers can help.
According to a Beacon special report, summarized here, ESAs “provide families a more flexible option than traditional voucher programs. ESA funds can be used to create a truly customized education experience including tutoring, speech and other education therapy, private school tuition, homeschool curriculum and supplies, education technology, and even help save for college.”
Beacon’s full report is available here.
There is a high level of support nationally for school choice, according to the “Schooling America” report by EdChoice, an organization that promotes school choice.
Support for choice-based reforms remains high for education savings accounts, school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, and charter schools.
Public school teachers support education savings accounts in larger numbers compared to their support for other types of school choice reforms.
Americans’ support for education savings accounts and school vouchers jumps at least 20 percentage points when respondents are given descriptions of those reforms. Opposition also increases but at much smaller proportions.
The “Schooling America” report is available here.
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