John DeBerry Defends School Vouchers: ‘I Serve Memphis’

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Tennessee State Rep. John DeBerry, D-Memphis, said Tuesday that his constituents have no problem with him supporting school vouchers.

DeBerry also told The Tennessee Star that he serves his constituents, and whatever criticism he gets from elsewhere doesn’t matter to him.

“I have never heard anything negative from my constituents (about vouchers). My constituents for the most part either support it, or they have a wait and see attitude,” DeBerry said. “The majority of pushback that I get on school vouchers are from education professionals, and I understand their concerns. I am not at all negating them, but the negative on vouchers is not driven by my constituents.”

DeBerry went on to say that these same education professionals act as if the world is about to end if school vouchers gain popularity — but he also said the status quo cannot continue.

“I am elected, and I serve Memphis. I am not running for king of the world or trying to run anybody else’s district. In my district, I have to work to end the schoolhouse and the jailhouse pipeline. We are sending more children into incarceration than we are sending into education and universities of this state and around this country. Nobody can dispute that,” DeBerry said.

He added, “Look how many kids cannot get in schools because they cannot get an adequate score on the ACT. How many kids still can’t get in the military because they can’t pass the test?”

As The Daily Memphian reported, DeBerry recently spoke at an American Enterprise Institute event in Washington, D.C. that focused on federal education freedom scholarship legislation.

As the website reported, DeBerry was “the only Democrat to vote for Gov. Bill Lee’s education savings account bill this year.”

“Speaking along with Pennsylvania and Arizona officials after a Q&A with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an education choice supporter, and Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Donald Trump, DeBerry said the state and nation have to ‘deal with the perception’ that public money is being diverted to private schools and ‘not necessarily taking to heart that it’s public money to take care of our children,’” the website reported.

“The focus of the discussion was federal legislation setting up student scholarships with tax credits.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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