Gov. Haslam will push education vouchers for Tennessee

Gov. Haslam will push education vouchers for Tennessee

January 14th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Gov. Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam said today he plans to push a limited education voucher bill this year that would apply to the state's poorest children in Tennessee's worst-performing schools.

But the Republican said he will not introduce legislation to create a statewide authorizer of charter schools that take such decisions out of local school boards' hands. He said, however, that he expects proponents to push such a bill in the Legislature.

Haslam's announcement came to reporters following an education discussion in which he appeared with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Haslam offered few details on the voucher bill, which the governor asked lawmakers to delay during their 2012 session.

Vouchers or "opportunity scholarships," as proponents prefer to call them, allow parents to use taxpayer money to send their children to religious or other private K-12 schools.

Charter schools are privately run public schools that are exempt from many of the rules traditional public schools must follow.

Today's event was hosted by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE, an education think tank founded by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tenn., and run by former state Sen. Jamie Woodson, R-Knoxville.