published Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Senators pass school voucher bill that impacts Hamilton County

NASHVILLE — State senators on Thursday passed legislation that creates a school voucher program for students from lower-income families in Hamilton County and the state’s three other largest counties.

The measure passed on a largely partisan 20-10 vote with one Democrat, Sen. Douglas Henry of Nashville, joining with majority Republicans. Several Republicans did not vote.

Similar legislation in the House has not started to move.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, praised the bill, sponsored by Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, saying, it will provide “opportunity scholarships for parents who have their children trapped in a failing school but don’t have the means to take them anywhere else.”

But Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, charged it was little more than a retread of 30-year-old ideas. He complained that majority Republicans this year are pushing a series of “divisive” partisan bills that depart from recent bipartisan approaches on education reform.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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zenhead said...

Why would Andy Berke and Dr Scales be against allowing poor parents whose kids are in under-preforming schools a choice to try something different? Money and Jobs (especially beloved union jobs = campaign contributions). If Dr Scales contract had been tied to performance he would be gone instead or having to wait till it expires. The drum beat always seems to be more MONEY! I for one am willing to pay more money if we get RESULTS. I am for the voucher plan but I do agree there should be a vehicle for tracking progress. The voucher plan is something new! Lets try it! We know that Dr Scales' method doesn't work. For those who don't believe just look at the State Report Card.

April 22, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
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