TN Voucher bill dead until further notice

TN Voucher bill dead until further notice


The Tennessee House of Representatives chose to delay their vote on the Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act, also referred to as the TN Voucher Bill.

The bill is still alive, but the legislators will not make a definitive vote until further notice.

The bill would have allowed a limited number of students qualifying for free and reduced lunches, who attend public schools in the bottom 5-percent of the state, to take a $7,000 voucher to attend private school.

State Representative Antonio Parkinson, who has been a vocal critic of the bill, said its sponsors did not have enough votes to get it passed.

"In all of the studies that I've seen, you know, from different areas, vouchers haven't really worked anywhere I've seen them put in place," Parkinson said.

Mendell Grinter, of Black Alliance for Educational Options, has been a huge supporter of the plan.

He said it's unacceptable for children to continue going to schools that are failing them.

"We really don't advocate for the best option, what we just advocate for is our families having options," Grinter said.

Parkinson said families in Shelby County already have options.

"If you are going to a failing school, you know, you have the ability to go to any school that you want to in Shelby County," Parkinson said.

Grinter plans to keep pushing vouchers at the statehouse.

"It could come back later this session, or, more likely, we'll wait until next year," Grinter said.

Parkinson said attracting better teachers and expanding the iZone program are better ways to spend our tax dollars.

"We have good models here. Now, let's put the resources behind the models that are working for us and really move education forward," Parkinson said.

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