Please write, email, or call your State Senator and State Representative and let them know your feelings about the impending Statewide Charter Authorizer and Voucher bills. Feel free to use the following letter as a guide when contacting them, but please know that they are generally more interested in correspondence that is personally written and includes your own specific concerns about issues. (Please click here to find out who your State Senator and State Representative are. Click here to get contact information for your State Representative and here to get get contact information for your State Senator. Please click here for more reasons against these bills that you can use in your letter. )
My name is ____________ and I live at ______________ in ____________. I am concerned about the Statewide Charter Authorizer (SCA) and School Voucher bills that will likely be presented to the legislature in the next few months. I do not believe that an SCA will be good for our state because it would increase the reach of state government into local affairs and create additional bureaucracy. In addition, because the SCA would be appointed, they would not be accountable to the will of the voters like locally elected school boards currently are. Last, an SCA cannot possibly understand the unique needs of every district in the state. Locally elected school boards can adapt to the unique social and cultural dynamics of their community and pursue more creativity in addressing educational issues which develop.
I do not believe a school voucher program will benefit our state because vouchers divert attention, commitment, and dollars from public schools to subsidize private-school tuition for a few students, including many who already attend private schools, creating new costs for taxpayers. A dollar spent on a tuition voucher is a dollar drained from public education. Vouchers also eliminate public accountability: They channel tax dollars into private schools that do not face state-approved academic standards, do not make budgets public, do not adhere to open meetings and records laws, do not publicly report on student achievement, and do not face the public accountability requirements contained in state and federal laws, including special-education laws.
Instead of passing these bills, I believe the state of TN should fully fund its public schools. (TN is currently 47th in the nation for per pupil funding.) How can we expect to achieve excellence in our public schools if we refuse to properly fund them? I also believe the legislature should encourage citizens to support our public schools instead of attempting to dismantle the system. Please vote “no” on the SCA and Voucher bills and fight for adequate funding and support for our public schools.
(Include contact information–including address–here.)