TN House Dems Laud Voucher Bill Being Taken Off Notice

Press release from the Tennessee House Republican Caucus; March 17, 2015:

Democratic Leaders take stand on voucher bill and applaud it being taken off notice

Democratic lawmakers today applauded as HB1049, a controversial school voucher bill, was taken off notice by the House Education Administration and Planning Committee. The bill would have allowed students to receive public tax dollars to pay for private schools. The House Democratic Caucus has publically condemned the bill. House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh said, “We have one pot of money for our schools. If we allow private institutions to start taking millions upon millions of dollars out of our classrooms, you won’t be helping any child—you’ll be hurting every child and really the entire community where these already vulnerable schools are located. “He added, “It’s a travesty of the first degree and yet another blow in the Republicans’ war on schools.”

The failure of the bill to advance follows severe criticism by supporters of public schools and Democratic Caucus members. Representative Kevin Dunlap (Rock Island-D), who is also a teacher, said: “Our public schools are the fastest improving in the nation and we shouldn’t diminish their funding when our students and teachers have made such incredible advances.”

Additionally, House Caucus leadership says there is NO research that children with vouchers do any better at voucher schools than in public schools and perform below average on state tests. Case in point: In Milwaukee, students attending voucher schools performed worse in math and reading than in the city’s public schools. And across Louisiana, seven schools did so badly on their math, reading, science and social studies scores that their State Superintendent barred them from accepting any new voucher students.* Commenting on these results, Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said, “It didn’t work in Milwaukee or Louisiana and it won’t work here. This voucher bill is the worst public policy that will come before the Tennessee legislature this session.”

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*POLITICO 10/6/13: Vouchers don’t do much for Public Schools: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/vouchers-dont-do-much-for-students-97909.html