School Voucher Folly

A disaster awaits as voucher vote looms

Peter Greene writes about school voucher legislation on the verge of being debate in the Tennessee General Assembly.

He notes:

Tennessee SB 2787 (also, HB 2468) is one of those odd little legislative tricks beloved by both parties and mysterious to ordinary mortals. It started out as a bill requiring the department of education to study school choice in other states and then make a report. Except by the time it’s done it won’t be about that at all.

This bill will be the vehicle for delivering on Gov. Bill Lee’s promise to create a universal school voucher scheme in Tennessee.

Green goes on to note that based on Tennessee’s education track record, vouchers are likely to be a disaster in the state.

Choice fans talk about the needs of students and families, but Tennessee with its rich history of grift-centered education reformsterism seems poised to once again put the interests of profiteers ahead of protecting the rights of families. Heaven only knows what this bill is going to look like when it finally assumes its final form, but I’m not optimistic.

And Greene has this to say about the lack of accountability measures for the schools accepting vouchers:

It would be nice, in a choice marketplace, to have some basic guardrails in place. We mostly don’t depend on market forces to protect us from markets that sell poisonous food. One would think that the government could provide that basic level of oversight for a school choice system, but voucher fans are far more likely to explicitly forbid government oversight, and true to form, none of the discussion surrounding this bill seems to center on what requirements vendors would have to meet in order to get some of those taxpayer-funded voucher dollars.