Don’t Abandon Public Schools and Deceive Low-Income Students

Target: Bill Lee, Governor of Tennessee

Goal: Do not expand school voucher programs with no income qualifications.

Tennessee has become the latest state to propose a controversial school voucher program that would further undermine public education. Governor Bill Lee is pushing a policy that would set aside over 140 million dollars for students to attend private or home schools. More troubling, the governor’s plan would eventually open up this program to any student regardless of family income status.

School vouchers have been touted as a way to “rescue” low-income children from failing public schools, but increasingly these measures seem to serve more as a free ride for students from already well-to-do families. States such as Florida have already lifted family income caps for their own voucher initiatives. A recent study revealed that nationwide, families in the upper middle class–and even the upper class–are taking full advantage of these eased restrictions, using taxpayer funds to send their children to prestigious schools or even for homeschooling purposes. Meanwhile, funding for public education continues to fall.

Sign the petition below to urge this state to resist continuing a detrimental trend that will harm students in the long-term.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Lee,

The Education Freedom Scholarship Act is supposed to expand opportunities for disadvantaged students, so why are half the funds devoted to this proposed program set aside for any student regardless of income status? And why is your ultimate goal unfettered access to these initiatives? Moreover, why are parents being deceived about the nature of the schools being promoted? Many of these institutions (and home schools) reportedly do not meet essential learning guidelines required of public schools, and some of these schools can apparently exclude students with special needs.

This proposed 140 million dollars in taxpayer investments would be put to better use in the public schools you claim are failing. Why not use this money to fix them and make them high-quality learning institutions? Do not abandon public education for yet another exploitative and deceptive handout for wealthy families at the expense of youth who need a real helping hand.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dr. James Garner Williams


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