Home » Press Releases » Tennessee Needs to Embrace School Choice

Tennessee Needs to Embrace School Choice

Share This Story

Voucher Program Would Be Step In The Right Direction

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
March 11, 2014

The Tennessee House Budget Subcommittee just passed a bill that would allow students in the bottom 10 percent of low-performing schools to obtain a voucher, and by extension an opportunity for success. This first step could potentially open the door for even more students to benefit from having the means to seek out the education that’s right for them.

“Parents in Tennessee have been clamoring for more power over their children’s education,” said Kara Kerwin, president of The Center for Education Reform. “We applaud Governor Haslam and the leadership in the state legislature that are working to answer their call, and encourage them to stay the course.”

Tennessee currently ranks 26th in the nation on the Parent Power Index©, which measures the ability in each state of a parent to exercise choices, regardless of their income or their child’s level of academic achievement, and engage and have a voice in the systems that surround their child, including their local school and school board.

Two proposals, one slightly more ambitious than the other, currently making their way through the Tennessee Legislature would represent a modest, yet positive step in introducing much-needed school choice for students stuck in low-performing schools. Last year, lawmakers could not reach an agreement on similar efforts to create a voucher program to give students the chance to escape failing schools.

“States where parents have options to choose tend to yield higher growth rates in student achievement,” said Kerwin. “Hopefully lawmakers in the Volunteer State will appreciate the potential for improving educational outcomes for Tennessee students in failing schools, and remain steadfast in delivering increased access to better opportunities.”