Monday, Gov. Haslam filed his anticipated voucher proposal to shift public money away from public schools. The bill is titled the “Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act.” A first review of the bill cries out for an answer to the question – Opportunity for Whom?
The first thing that jumps out about this bill is its statement that participating private schools need not offer special education services to voucher holding students. Since most private schools offer limited, if any, special education services, this provision seems to explicitly exclude students with special education needs from the “opportunity” the bill claims to create.
Further, there is no requirement that a participating private school accept voucher students without regard to its normal admissions criteria. Thus, with respect to those schools that have such admissions requirements, academically struggling students (the very students the bill is supposed to assist) will also be left without this new “opportunity.”
Certainly there is no new “opportunity” here for public school districts who will see much needed funds flow from their operating budgets.
So who will be benefit from this great new “opportunity”? Those private schools that are financially struggling and need a tax-funded bail out from the state, while maintaining the ability to screen out low-performing or high-needs students.
Contact your Legislators and tell them you do not want your tax dollars funding private schools.