Tennessee’s Governor on Wednesday touted the state’s new Education Savings Account (ESA) program Wednesday.
“When TN families can choose the right school for their child, that student has an even greater shot at success in life,” said Governor Bill Lee (R) on Twitter. “That’s what our Education Savings Account program is all about. Nearly 1,000 families have applied. 350+ are already approved. And we’re just getting started.”
When TN families can choose the right school for their child, that student has an even greater shot at success in life. That’s what our Education Savings Account program is all about.
Nearly 1,000 families have applied. 350+ are already approved. And we're just getting started. pic.twitter.com/oW715SMYf5
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) October 5, 2022
Lee added an accompanying video.
“We’re in the Capitol today, and I just wanted to share some really good news about Tennessee kids,” Lee said. “You know, there are a lot of kids in our state [and] many of them have not had a choice about what school they can go to, and I’m one that believes that when parents have a choice or when kids have an option about their educational pathway, they’re much more likely to find success right here in the great state of Tennessee.”
Lee noted that of the more than 1,000 families who have applied to utilize the new program, which is being piloted in Shelby and Davidson counties, most come from what he describes as “underserved areas.”
“We know that those kids and those families will likely have better outcomes,” he said. “That’s something we’re celebrating in Tennessee. It’s a good first step, but we have a long way to go with this program. It’s only been open for a few weeks.”
ESA programs allow parents to use state and local education funds allotted for their child for the purposes of paying tuition fees at private schools. Parents can also use the money for “school uniforms, textbooks, tutoring services, computer hardware, educational therapies or services, summer education programs, specialized after-school programs, or other educational purposes,” according to the state’s ESA website.
As reported by The Tennessee Star, the ESA program was initially passed by the legislature in 2019, but was put through the wringer in the court system before eventually taking effect.
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