Tennessee’s school voucher program may end up being the ultimate solution in search of a problem as Chalkbeat reports few families are actually applying for the scheme.
Fewer than 300 applications appear to be on track for approval for 5,000 spots in the first year of Tennessee’s school voucher program, while a Nashville judge said she’ll rule by next week whether to allow the program to launch under two legal challenges.
As of Wednesday night, education department data showed 291 completed applications were still active, while 189 have been denied since the state began accepting them in late March.
So, in spite of aggressive marketing for the program, it seems that parents may not actually want vouchers.
What’s most disappointing about this reality is that Gov. Bill Lee slashed a planned investment in teacher compensation in order to fully-fund his voucher scheme. Now, school systems across the state will see less BEP funding while money sits waiting to be used for a voucher program no one wants.
Oh, and the private company managing the voucher scheme for $2.5 million? Yeah, they’re still getting paid.
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I would love to use it however the school I want to enroll my son in is not on the list.
Rachel’s comment is very helpful. Non-public schools are reasonably concerned about “taking the King’s shilling” and then having to obey the King’s orders. Ramping up the voucher program will take time. Bur the alternative on offer is to abandon our children to the “tender mercies” of an increasingly totalitarian government and professional education establishment.