Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Dailywire Article-Republicans In Red States Including Tennessee Join Dems To Resist School Choice Policies

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2023

By  Brandon Drey

Michael Siluk/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Some Republican-led states, including Tennessee, are joining Democrats in actively resisting school choice policies after dozens of red states have already begun implementing such changes.

School choice, which deposits public education funds directly to families to spend on where their children learn, became popular among Republican and Democratic voters in the wake of the pandemic after parents got an inside look at what their kids were being taught.

Some states, including Arizona, Utah, Iowa, West Virginia, and Arkansas, have adopted such policies, while dozens of others allow parents to take advantage of tax credits or savings programs for private schools or homeschool programs. However, some GOP officials in red states, including Tennessee, Idaho, and Wyoming, are seeing opposition from fellow Republicans.

Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, a Republican, sponsored education savings account legislation in that state in 2019 targeting poor-performing public school districts with heavy minority populations.

“There was tremendous support for many, in the African American community or Hispanic community, as well as all folks that are in these urban areas where they have a failing school system,” Johnson told The Daily Wire. “That’s kind of where we drew the line for this initial legislation that we pass, and some would love to have statewide universal school choice.”

However, sources working in Tennessee’s state capitol told The Daily Wire of the harrowing fight lawmakers endured in passing the legislation due to the nature of the bill, which only covers a few hundred students. Although they expect that number to grow, sources said they don’t see universal school choice passing in Tennessee anytime soon due to the backlash not just from Democrats and teacher unions, but also from the overwhelmingly Republican legislature.

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