State lawmakers raised several reservations but ultimately passed Gov. Bill Haslam’s school voucher program in its first test.
Two members of the House Education Subcommittee voted no, including one Republican. The former school superintendent says he doesn’t believe public money should be diverted to private schools. Democrat Joe Pitts of Clarksville voted no after asking if private schools would be forced to still provide a free lunch. Only poor students could qualify for vouchers under the plan.
“I’m just really concerned that we’re targeting that at-risk population, but we’re really not doing anything else to supply that basic human need, which is food,” Pitts said.
Tennessee’s education commissioner says he doesn’t plan to request funds for expanding pre-kindergarten classes, but democratic leaders say they plan to speak with Governor Bill Haslam about considering an expansion.
The Nation's Report Card shows Tennessee students making slight gains in science. State education officials say the latest results from the National Assessment of Education Progress show nearly 31 percent of students scoring at or above average in science, compared to 28 percent two years before.