Nashville attorney Jamie Hollin takes on the Chamber of Commerce as he discusses the “Adopt-a-Teacher” program. Here are some highlights:
Our elected officials have chronically underfunded public education in Tennessee at virtually every level. The fact we rank near the bottom in the U.S. in per-pupil spending should surprise no one.
But governments have accomplices, and one of them here is the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, which has consistently advocated for policies that undercut our public schools.
When Mayor Karl Dean proposed a modest 53-cent property tax increase in 2012, largely to increase pay for early career teachers and make Metro schools more competitive, the Chamber had to be dragged into supporting it. When the school board joined a lawsuit to force the state to live up to their promises and fully fund schools, the Chamber was and has been silent.
The Chamber has been vocal about supporting charter schools, though, and unabated charter growth now accounts for $130 million that could be going to traditional public schools. The Chamber has also supported vouchers in the past and now Gov. Bill Lee’s plan looks like it will take another $330 million out of public schools in Davidson and Shelby counties by 2024.
Read more from Hollin about the Nashville Chamber and the current “budget crisis” that may prevent further investment in Nashville’s public schools.
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