TN Sen. pulls support from school voucher bill

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The future of school vouchers is up in the air.

Tennessee Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) decided he will not ask a Senate committee to take up his voucher bill.

Kelsey supports school vouchers--the practice of using public money to help send more students to private schools.

He created a bill that would create a pilot program in Shelby County, but he recently decided against trying to get that bill turned into law.

Kelsey said he decided to pull the bill after receiving negative feedback from many parents in his district.

Still, he personally thinks school vouchers would help improve education by helping students below the poverty line get into better schools.

"Those are the children who need the scholarships. Children of rich parents have the money to go to private schools, and they're going there already," Kelsey said.

Tennessee Representative Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) is strongly against school vouchers. He said they don't really work the way people think.

"If you take a school and you convert it to a charter school in a high poverty area,  and that's the only school that they have access to, then that's not choice. That's school force," Parkinson said.

Both Kelsey and Parkinson agree that education in Tennessee needs help.

"[We're working to] make it so that these children have the best opportunity to learn," Kesley said.

"I'm focused on ensuring public schools have the funds they need to be successful next year," Parkinson said.

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