Scope of Vouchers Proposal In Question

Tennessee’s top education official says a school vouchers proposal is meant to focus on students in schools so bad the state is taking some of them over. The administration is at odds with the lawmaker carrying its signature education bill, who says it’s too narrow, and wants it to reach more children.

The vouchers proposal would help poor families in the state’s worst schools, to afford tuition at private schools instead. Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman says it’s a relatively narrow group.

“There are 83 schools that comprise the bottom 5 percent of schools in Tennessee, and they serve about 35 thousand students.”

As written, the bill would target a fraction of that group. Noting it’s a tiny percentage of Tennessee’s students, Germantown Senator Brian Kelsey wants to make it far broader.

Kelsey has said he’ll discuss the potential expansion with the governor. Asked whether those talks have happened yet, a spokesman answered ‘nothing has changed,’ saying the governor still likes his bill the way it is.

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