Vouchers were front-and-center at the recent Southern Legislative Conference in Memphis, where Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey was among the loudest cheerleaders supporting the use of these dubious taxpayer-funded programs to allow low-income children in the state’s largest cities – Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga – to attend another public school in the district, a charter school or private school, according to media coverage of the meeting.
Also, Tom Humphrey, Nashville bureau chief for knoxnews.com, writes in his recent blog post on “Humphrey on the Hill,” that state legislators there have found a new friend on the issue: Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools who earned a reputation for firing dozens of teachers – and who has recently moved to Tennessee.
Tennessee’s legislature was unable to pass a voucher bill this year, but its supporter at the SLC meeting vowed to keep pressing for it.
As the rhetoric has ramped up in recent months in the push to create more voucher programs, we must remain vigilant in our fight to hold state and federal leaders accountable for using public taxpayer dollars to invest in public education, not flawed so-called reforms that benefit only a limited number of children.