WSJ: Unholy Alliance of Business, Labor Killed School Vouchers Bill

The Wall Street Journal in an editorial today lambastes Tennessee chambers of commerce and unions for helping squash a bill that would have opened up access to school vouchers for poor students in the large urban school districts.

Senate Bill 485 by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, won approval last month in the Senate but was then sent to a summer study committee by the House, meaning it can’t pass this session.

The Journal lays some of the blame at the feet of the teachers unions but saves the real zingers for the business community, calling out the chambers in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga for opposing the bill:

The Tennessee chambers aren’t nearly as opposed to public money going to private institutions when they receive the checks. A study by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research discovered that over the past several years the Chattanooga Chamber has received $450,000 in state and local funds. The Nashville Chamber has received nearly $3 million in taxpayer subsidies.

We doubt a single child of officials in these chambers of commerce attends a school in the poor parts of Memphis or other places where dreams die before high school. Yet these captains of industry are willing to deny that choice to others. Business executives who really want to make the U.S. more competitive ought to stop contributing to lobbies that want to preserve the dreadful status quo.