Tennessee: Legislators Propose Vouchers for Shelby County, One of Nation’s Most Fiscally Distressed Districts

Diane Ravitch's blog

A bill was filed in the Tennessee legislature to establish vouchers for students in Shelby County. It would divert $18 million from the district, which is already one of the most fiscally disadvantaged districts in the nation.

The voucher program would deepen the fiscal distress of the district. With the amount of the vouchers, students would not be accepted at first-rate private schools but at low-quality religious schools that teach creationism.

The bill, filed by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, includes language that only students in districts with at least 30 schools in the bottom 5 percent in the state in academic performance would be eligible for a voucher. SCS is the only district in Tennessee with that many low-performing schools.

Students would also have to be zoned to or currently attending a school in the bottom 5 percent and would have to meet-age-and-income requirements.

The bill creates a phased-in Opportunity…

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