Voucher case proceeds despite imminent harm to Memphis, Nashville
A three-judge panel on Friday declined to stop Gov. Bill Lee’s rushed implementation of a school voucher scheme in Memphis and Nashville.
Chalkbeat reports that lawyers for parents opposing the voucher plan had asked the court to halt implementation while their case against vouchers proceeds.
Specifically, lawyers noted that if implementation proceeds, Memphis and Nashville combined could lose up to $26 million in funding this year despite no attendant reduction in costs to operate.
“Nothing requires the state defendants to push this forward at a rocket’s pace after the injunction was lifted, just before the school year started,” said Allison Bussell, Metro Nashville’s associate law director, representing the two local governments.
She argued that allowing the program to start will cause irreparable harm to both districts, which she said stand to lose $26 million this school year if 3,000 students shift from public to private schools — while the districts must maintain and staff the same number of schools.
A recent article in The Hechinger Report noted that vouchers have not been shown to improve student achievement, and in fact, have in some cases been shown to actually be harmful.
Vouchers are dangerous to American education. They promise an all-too-simple solution to tough problems like unequal access to high-quality schools, segregation and even school safety. In small doses, years ago, vouchers seemed like they might work, but as more states have created more and larger voucher programs, experts like me have learned enough to say that these programs on balance can severely hinder academic growth — especially for vulnerable kids.
So, vouchers not only cost local districts significant money, but they also harm the very students they are intended to help. Nevertheless, Gov. Lee and his allies are persisting with this perilous plan.
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