Despite dressing up in farmer clothes and standing next to actual farm equipment every Saturday, Bill Lee still hasn’t been able to overcome significant skepticism about his scheme to use public funds to pay for private schools — a plan he’s calling “Education Savings Accounts.”
Erik Schelzig of Tennessee Journal has more on Lee’s bafflement over school voucher messaging gone awry:
But a lot of the confusion about the proposal comes from members of Lee’s own party. For example, freshman Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) took to twitter to declare a news account a “pure lie” for stating the education savings account, or ESA, program would also apply to students who don’t currently attend failing schools. It would.
Fellow freshman Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Columbia), a member of the House Education Committee scheduled to vote on the bill this week, said in a Facebook post that “because of the risk of fraud, as seen in other states with Educational Savings Accounts, homeschooling is not allowed in this bill.”
That’s in contrast to what Lee said last week when reporters asked him whether home-schooling would qualify for the ESAs.
“If a family is in the district that qualifies, and they are currently in a public school, then they would qualify for an ESA,” Lee said.
Here are some important facts about Governor Lee’s voucher people from the Tennessee School Boards Association – a group that has actually read the bill. It’s not yet clear whether Lee has, in fact, read his own bill or even if members of his own party are reading actual legislation, or just spouting off talking points in order to confuse the issue.
What is clear: Bill Lee and his “team” aren’t quite on the same page. Of course, it may not matter, as they seem to have some tricks up their sleeves.
For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport
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