The Voucher Fight

We don’t know who.

We don’t know how much.

We don’t know where.

But we all know there are already people firmly planted on each side of the coming debate on school vouchers.

This has been an interesting issue already. Last year, or I guess at the end of 2011, the governor established a task force to investigate what a school voucher program might look like in Tennessee. After several meetings last year, the voucher group sent a report to the governor that didn’t contain a whole lot of specifics. There were no specifics on eligibility, the amount of the voucher, accountability measures for participating schools, whether it should be for private schools only, whether or not it should be across the entire state, and other issues. I think you get the point.

So while it seems like there are still a lot of unanswered questions, voucher legislation will certainly come up this coming session. Many supporters believe these issues can all be resolved through the legislative process. At last check, the governor hadn’t decided yet whether or not to make voucher legislation one of his legislative agenda items.

Pro-voucher groups put a lot of money into campaigns during both the primary and general election cycles. Metro council is set to vote on a non-binding resolution urging the state to hold Metro Schools harmless in any voucher proposal. There are already radio ads running in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville. Parents are mobilizing on both sides. In other words, this campaign for and against vouchers has been going on for a while. And yet, we still don’t have a clue about the big specifics on this legislation. Those details are ultimately going to decide whether or not this proposal has a shot of passage, because I know there are people on both sides of the aisle who are still unsure about the idea.

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