Governor Lee’s Voucher Program Clears Another Legal Hurdle

Tennessee’s Education Savings Account (ESA) plan, often portrayed as a voucher program, won another legal challenge filed by opponents of the controversial legislation that targets Memphis and Nashville schools. A three-judge panel appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court and made up of Chancellor Anne Martin, Judge Tammy Harrington, and Judge Valerie Smith, has ruled that the parties challenging the legislation have no legal standing. As a result, all challenges are dismissed.

This action, at least temporarily, removes all legal hurdles facing the 2019 Education Savings Account law. The law provides money for families to offset private school tuition, should they choose to pursue that option due to inadequate traditional school options.

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Florida NAEP Results Offer a Potential Harbinger for Tennessee

The release of the “Nation’s Report Card” on October 24th has led to a variety of pronouncements from a variety of experts. Many have expressed grave concerns over the potential effects on students, due to lost instructional time during the recent COVID pandemic. The value of this national test, designed to measure fourth and eighth-grade student learning, is in of itself a hotly debated issue. While the interpretation of the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which supplies the data for the Report Card, may be open to debate, they do offer a large trove of valuable information that can be used in the consideration and evaluation of policy. In some cases, providing a warning of future outcomes. 

This year, Florida is publically celebrating its successful outcomes. In the wake of the positive results, Governor DeSantis sent out a press release using NEAP results to defend his response to COVID and his commitment to keeping schools open,

“We also knew that younger and at-risk students would be the most impacted if schools were closed, and the results speak for themselves. In Florida our 4thgrade students rank #3 in Reading and #4 in Math, achieving top 4 in both English and Math for the first time in state history, while lockdown California and New York aren’t even in the top 30.”.

While Florida’s fourth-grade results are exceptionally positive, they don’t tell the whole story. 

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Buckeye Institute Report Offers Solutions to Ohio Students’ Learning Loss

Responding to major learning loss suffered by Ohio students as a result of the school closures following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Columbus-based Buckeye Institute recommended policy solutions this week to help students regain what the education system did not provide. 

On March 30, 2020, Republican Governor Mike DeWine ordered all in-person K-12 schooling closed throughout the state for the remainder of that school year. Students instead participated in “virtual classrooms” wherein they would watch their teachers’ instructions online. During the 2020-21 school year, many school districts continued to keep school buildings closed at least part-time. 

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School Choice Supporters Encouraged by Latest Marquette Poll on Vouchers

More parents in Wisconsin are getting behind the idea of school choice.

The latest Marquette Law School Poll shows 58% of voters in the state support the idea of ending limits on vouchers for private or religious schools. That would open up school choice to more than just low-income families in many parts of Wisconsin. The poll says 33% of voters oppose the idea.

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JC Bowman Commentary: School Funding, Vouchers, and the ASD

It is back to work for state legislators. The first week of the legislature has been very busy. While criticizing politicians is a national activity and a form of amusement for many, the truth is that most of these folks are good people, working hard, and trying to do the right thing for our state. It is always the good, bad, and ugly in any political system.

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Tennessee Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Award Funding to Families Impacted by School Closures, COVID Mandates

Tennessee Senator Mike Bell and Representative Michael G. Curcio

State Senator Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and State Representative Michael Curcio (R-Dickson) introduced a bill on Monday to award funding to families impacted by school closures or various COVID mandates.

The legislation, SB1647/HB1671, would award vouchers to parents who choose to relocate their child to a different school because of the issues.

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Commentary: Breaking the Progressive Union Monopoly on Public Education

It’s hard to imagine a worse time for public education in America. The COVID-19 pandemic has cost millions of K-12 students a year of education, and Joe Biden has been elected president. At a time when innovation in public education is needed more than ever, Biden has appointed Miguel Cardona to serve as Secretary of Education.

To understand why Cardona, who previously served as Connecticut’s education commissioner, is not going to improve schooling in America, just consider the endorsements he’s received.

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Commentary: Minority Communities Stand to Lose the Most Because of Judge’s ESA Decision

Next time you hear progressives talk about how they are the ones who are sticking up for minority communities, ask them to square their opposition to educational freedom – or the ability for families to customize their child’s education.

Progressives cheered this week as Nashville Chancellor Anne C. Martin ruled that the state’s education savings account program is “unconstitutional” because of an obscure section in our constitution where it talks about “home rule.”

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Ohio School Voucher Program Doubles as More Public Schools Fail to Make The Grade

After a staggering number of Ohio public schools failed to make the grade, the state’s voucher and charter school system is poised for tremendous expansion. In Ohio, if the public school test scores of a student’s home district fall below a certain level, calculated by the Ohio Department of Education, a…

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JC Bowman Commentary: Open Enrollment is a Choice

As the focus on education choice is elevated by Governor-elect Bill Lee, maybe the easiest place to find initial consensus is with open enrollment. We must expand open enrollment policies in our public school districts.

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Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Lee: ‘I Would Be a Strong Advocate for School Choice’

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…

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