Governor Bill Haslam wants a new school-vouchers program to be ready by the time summer vacation ends. His proposal would divert taxpayer money from public schools to instead help some low-income students afford private school tuition.
Specifics of the proposal are not out yet, and Haslam says the kickoff date is hardly set in stone. Last year Haslam called ‘time-out’ on vouchers so he could study the matter, and now he says it’s time to act.
“If you have a chance to help our lowest income students in our worst performing schools, why wouldn’t you? If you want to boil it all down, it comes down to that. If we can make a difference for those students – lowest income, worst performing schools – why wouldn’t we do something?”
Not everyone agrees vouchers are the best approach, arguing they can undercut funding for traditional public schools. But Haslam counters that vouchers boost college attendance, and give parents stuck with failing schools another option.