Governor's Education Initiatives Move Forward in the Legislature

Mar 13, 2013

Governor Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam's latest proposals for education reform are advancing in the Tennessee General Assembly.

The governor’s school voucher proposal was approved 9-4 in the House Education Committee Tuesday. The bill would limit the program to 5,000 students in failing schools beginning this fall, grow to 20,000 students by 2016.

The governor’s charter bill is also advancing. It was approved on a voice vote in the House Government Operations Committee Wednesday morning. Under that legislation, charter applicants would apply to their local school board first, then could appeal to a panel appointed by the governor if they're turned down.

Gera Summerford, President of Tennessee’s largest teachers union, used the word “frustrated,” when asked for her reaction to the two bills.

“The administration seems to be intent on moving forward with changes whether or not there’s evidence that they will actually help, so I think it would be much better to take a more Cautious approach and try to let some things become effective and let them work their way through before we make more changes. But that doens't seem to be where the administration is going."

The charter schools Senate companion bill gets a hearing later today. The Senate takes up the voucher bill next week.