A group of about 50 people gathered outside the Tennessee Capitol Tuesday to protest Gov. Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account (ESA) plan.
The 50 teachers, parents and other advocates voiced concerns about Lee’s support of education savings accounts, WBBJ said. Many of the teachers wore sunglasses “to show that they feared retribution if identified in the small crowd,” the station said.
This small protest came days after 200 gathered at a GOP event in Knoxville, where Lee attended, the station said.
An organization identifying itself as Tennessee Strong sent the press an email Tuesday morning announcing the rally. The group said one participant was State Rep. John Ray Clemmons (D-TN-55), a candidate for mayor of Metro Nashville.
The email said:
Please join parents, teachers, clergy leaders, public representatives, including state rep John Ray Clemmons, and Tennessee Strong, a grassroots statewide coalition of parents as we announce a statewide call to action in response to Gov Lee’s proposal for vouchers, which ultimately divests public education funds from already vulnerable populations.
Please join us at Beth Harwell Plaza in Nashville, TN, TODAY at noon to learn more about the potential impact of vouchers on Tennessee education as well as the call to action. It is super important for you to be there so Tennessean families can be informed on policies impacting their family and learn how they can advocate for quality public education.
WSMV quoted rally participant Tikeila Rucker, a Shelby County Schools teacher, as saying, “I am sick of being ignored. I am sick of funds being taken out of public education to go to private entities. Governor Lee has declared war on teachers and our students.”
Tennessee students in urban cities could start escaping failing schools in fall 2021, The Tennessee Star reported in March once Lee announced details of his ESA plan.
The legislation passed 14-9 in the Education Committee two weeks ago to move closer to a vote on the floor of the House.
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