Follow the $ Map 4.29.19

I am still calling it a “draft,” but I don’t know where else I could stick anything!  The latest Money Map is here!

If the PDF versions below are too small, you might try the link to the full map I uploaded to xmind: http://www.xmind.net/m/BSp9

Money Map 4-29-29

House and Senate ESA Bill Comparison

The House and Senate ESA Bill Comparison is in three different formats, below. Google Chrome is recommended for the best viewing, but there should be a format that works for everyone. If not, please let me know in the comments.

House and Senate ESA Bill Comparison

 

 

 

ESA House Senate Comparison

The TN ESA Voucher Bill, HB 939 is Still Terrible

The TN ESA Voucher Bill, HB 939 is Still Terrible.

An annotated version is below. What else do you see that we haven’t covered?

 

HB 939 with highlights and amendment HA0188

The Governor's Office Would LIE to the Public?

We are hearing increasing reports of bullying, harassment, and intimidation tactics being used by Tennessee legislators, to strong-arm YOUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES into voting the way THEY want them to vote, rather than for the interests of constituents. 

Now, we are also hearing that people who voted for Governor Bill Lee have called his office to ask questions about the current “Education Savings Account” school voucher legislation and that they have not gotten honest answers. Sweet ladies are contacting me to let me know that they called the governor’s office, and the bill “just” says this or doesn’t say that – and I have to show them the actual amendment and see their faces when they realize that their governor’s office has lied to them.

This should not be happening.

Students’ lives should not be impacted by this kind of behavior.

Unfortunately, some of our legislators see our students only as dollars that support their buddies’ businesses and as PAC interests that support their own campaigns.

Our students need YOU to stand up and tell YOUR legislators to stop using students as political pawns, take responsibility for public schools, and increase funding to public schools to bring us up from FOURTY-FIFTH! in the nation, rather than throwing money away on voucher and charter schemes to privatize, separate, and segregate YOUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

If you have called the governor’s office or your local legislator and they have told you not to worry about this little amendment, please read it for yourself. I’ve added some highlights and red notations to help you get through the wordy-wordiness.

If I missed noting anything concerning in the amendment, please let me know in the comment section at the bottom of this page.

 

House Bill 939, Amendment 006145

If your browser does not support reading this PDF, you can download it HERE.

 

Keep Public Funds in Public Education

 

School Voucher Issue Brief (TSBA)

Please continue contacting your representatives in the Tennessee House and Senate to let them know that you oppose school vouchers.

Public funds should remain in public control, rather than being pushed out to private corporations.

Public funds are meant to be used for the public good.

There are many choices available to people. Taking funds away from public schools should not be one of them.

 

The Tennessee School Boards Association has a short “Issue Brief” that explains what school vouchers are, how they are used, and arguments that are often misused to support school vouchers. Parts of that brief are below:

Issue Brief – School Vouchers

Background

A school voucher is a publicly funded credit or certificate whereby a student may be enrolled in a private school and apply the credit to tuition. Education savings accounts (ESA), which are similar to a voucher program, are used to provide financial support to qualifying parents who want to send their children to private school. Recipients can also choose not to use the funds for tuition at all, instead using them to pay for a number of products and services related to educating their children. Ultimately, the idea is to create a competitive marketplace where parents and students have a choice outside of the public-school system.

Perhaps no other myth is more misleading as the one claiming these programs empower parents to make meaningful choices about their children’s schooling. Private schools are the entities that truly get to choose. Private schools admit the students they wish to accept – when, where and how. Traditional public schools must serve all students regardless of disability and special education status, family income, language proficiency, or academic standing.

School voucher proponents continuously reference higher education in their arguments. There is a key flaw in their argument, however, as higher education and K-12 education serve two very different purposes. Higher education institutions, such as colleges and universities, allow students to specialize in certain areas and gain an in depth understanding about specific topics, i.e. majors and minors. By contrast, the purpose behind K-12 education is to ensure every child within Tennessee has a basic understanding of numerous subjects and can go on to succeed in college or the workforce. This idea is so important, it is ingrained in our state constitution. The General Assembly believed the best way to ensure all students have access to a free public education is to create local boards of education and provide for local control. This method puts parents, students, businesses, and other members of the local community in charge of their children’s education.

Voucher proponents argue that Tennessee relies on a ZIP code to determine a child’s access to education. The truth is that in Tennessee, a locally elected board of education determines school zoning and which school a student will attend. This is the central concept of local control. Proponents of vouchers ignore the idea of local control in regard to how students are enrolled in public schools.

Over the years, proponents have indicated that there needs to be “school choice” for students. Tennessee school districts provide numerous public school choice options:

  • District Open Enrollment in every school district

  • The ability to transfer to another school district

  • Charter Schools

  • Magnet Schools

  • Extensive Early Post-Secondary Options

  • Virtual Schools

  • Academy Options

Another common claim regarding vouchers is they will result in savings for states and taxpayers because students will be attending a private school instead of public schools. In practice, this does not play out, as school vouchers require states to fund both public and private school systems. Even voucher plans that allow school districts to retain some funding when students depart using a voucher can ultimately cost districts and the state because of the fixed costs associated with educating children (classroom teachers, utilities, etc.) . . .  Simply because one or two students in a classroom leave to attend private schools does not mean that the classroom no longer needs a qualified teacher, facilities, utilities and all other resources required for an effective learning environment . . . 

School voucher programs have historically lacked accountability. Tennessee has spent years and over $500+ million in Federal Race to the Top funds creating the national gold standard in accountability for public education – vouchers for private schools abandon these efforts. Private schools and private school teachers are not held to the same high standards Tennessee requires of public schools and public school teachers. Public schools are governed by an elected board of education who must answer to the people, not private school administrators.

Ultimately, numerous studies have found no clear advantage in academic achievement for students attending private schools with vouchers. Not only do vouchers benefit a limited and select number of students, statistical studies and test scores have debunked this myth and shown that a student does not have greater academic success just because they attend a private school.

TSBA Position – OPPOSE

TSBA opposes any expansion of the special education voucher program as well as any new legislation that would divert money intended for public education to private schools.