Republican Lawmakers Continue Push To Improve Tennessee Education

A proposal presented by Governor Bill Haslam and Republican lawmakers to improve education in Tennessee easily cleared the House Education Subcommittee this week. House Bill 190, referred to as the ‘Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act’, would give low-income families with students stuck in the lowest performing schools the opportunity to seek educational options outside the traditional public education system.

If passed by the legislature, eligible students would have the opportunity to receive a scholarship to attend the private school of their choice. The program would be capped in terms of overall statewide participation, beginning with an initial cap of 5,000 students in the first year and rising to 7,500 in the second, 10,000 in the third, and 20,000 in the fourth and thereafter. Only those students whose family income status qualifies them for free or reduced lunch and who also are zoned to a school among the bottom five percent in terms of student achievement would be eligible to participate in the program.

House Bill 190 will next be heard in the full House Education Committee on March 5.