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Tennessee governor proposes statewide education voucher program

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee speaking at the state Capitol building Associated Press/Photo by Mark Zaleski

Tennessee governor proposes statewide education voucher program

Governor Bill Lee announced the Education Freedom Scholarship Act on Tuesday. If passed, the act would eventually allow students across the state to choose a school, regardless of their district or income level, and use taxpayer money to attend. Beginning in the 2024-25 school year, the proposed program would accommodate 20,000 students with more than $7,000 each to offset the price of attending private schools or some home schools. Half of the program’s students must earn at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty line, have a disability, or qualify under the current Education Savings Accounts pilot program. The other 10,000 students would be chosen from anywhere in the state and from any income level. By the 2025-26 school year, eligibility for the program would be open to all Tennessee students, regardless of income or previous school enrollment. Lee says the new program wouldempower parents with the freedom to choose the right education for their child” and choose how their taxes are spent.

So, could the state pay for students’ private school tuition? The voucher money may be used for tuition, fees, uniforms, textbooks, and computers. Students may also use the money on tutoring services, transportation, after-school programs, and summer school.

Dig deeper: Read Michael Farris’ report in WORLD Magazine on how parents across the political spectrum are rejecting the public school system.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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