|Senate Bill 196
would create a state-wide voucher program in Tennessee. Voucher programs funnel taxpayer money away from Tennessee public schools and fund primarily religious schools, violating our country’s commitment to the separation of church and state.
Furthermore, studies show vouchers do not improve academic achievement
or provide greater educational opportunities for disadvantaged students. According to multiple studies of the District of Columbia
, and Cleveland
school voucher programs, students offered vouchers do not perform better in reading and math than students in public schools. They also often lack accountability
, and civil rights protections
Also, a recent market analysis
of the voucher program performed by Vanderbilt found that there aren’t likely to be enough private schools in the program to even make the vouchers work. The bill would make vouchers available to students who attend the bottom five percent of public schools in Tennessee. Many of the schools in these areas, however, have tuition that far exceeds the amount of the voucher. Other private schools have said they are hesitant to participate because of lack of space, and still others don’t want to collaborate with a government-run program because it may risk their autonomy. As one associate professor at Vanderbilt said, “The numbers just don’t add up.”
The Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee passed SB 196 on Tuesday, and there will be a Senate floor vote on the bill soon.
Find the contact information of your state Senator here
. Tell him or her, “Please support public schools and oppose private school voucher programs that undermine the integrity of the Tennessee public school system. Please oppose SB 196, which would create a voucher program that will be ineffective and unaccountable to the taxpayers!”