House changes to voucher bill aimed at capturing rural vote

Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) speaks to reporters in the House chamber in Nashville on April 17, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

House leaders say amendments to Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher proposal will bring previously wary rural lawmakers on board by directing grant money to some of their struggling schools.

Rep. Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough), a longtime voucher opponent, said the updates to the bill have caused him to change his position on the Education Savings Account, or ESA, measure. House leadership hopes that changes will give the bill a significant cushion of votes to get it through its final committee hurdle and on the House floor.

Senate supporters moving a vastly different version are still trying to muster the votes to get the bill out of the Finance Committee.

23 Responses to House changes to voucher bill aimed at capturing rural vote

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Great to see conservative stalwarts from rural areas like Mathew Hill joining the forces that seek to break the government monopoly on childhood education. The fact that it is such a struggle with overwhelming Republican control of the legislature is yet another indication that we desperately need to elect better, much better, Republicans in the 2020 primary.

    • Lenny says:

      All Republican Primary contenders must have an A Rating with the 700 Club or we know they ain’t reall CHRISTians. Most important we must protect the ones who are fighting the wars on CHRISTmas. The 18 Angry Democrats wrote that our Precedent Trump used the F word. He has never said teh F word. That is slander.

      • MarLE says:

        I think you are onto something, Lenny.

        Between the A ratings of the Heritage Foundation AND the 700 Club, we wouldn’t have to think for ourselves ever again! Whew….I feel as though I can finally lay my burden down!

        As an added bonus we’d be immune to all of the Fake news trying to confuse us and probably wouldn’t really need to listen to that bastion of Balance, Fox News.

        • Lenny says:

          Yes, it is time to think for ourselves. I used to listen to Tammy Faye Bakker and bought $2500 of doomsday buckets of food because she said Obama was the anti Christ. I learn the hard way never listen to an adulterer. Now I know from Jimmy Swaggert that those weren’t the end times because God is first using Precendt Trump to return the Holy Lands back to His chosen people. It’s prophesy. We need the 700 club ratings so that we can know which candidates are against bingo, sports bets and other deadly sins that should be regulated

  • Leslie Parsley says:

    Hold fast, Opponents. For the sake of public education for all our students and not just the bigoted elites. What a scam this is.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Trenchant analysis as always Leslie. If you send your child to a government school you are a member of the bien-pensant, if you send your child to a private school you are a member of the “bigoted elites.”

      It must be great to be a liberal. The world is so simple to understand.

      • MarLE says:

        I read the barrage of comments on this subject from myriad school teachers on this blog. Somehow, concern for the educational welfare of All students is not what came across loud and clear….and they were all speaking with their outside voices.

  • Sandra Clark says:

    Stuart I. Anderson – Do you even have kids? If so, where do/did they attend school?

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Alas, I don’t have children. Actually, as an only child I don’t have nieces or nephews, nor as a matter of fact, even a first cousin once removed. I always had, however, thoughts of having one designer child who would not be subject to the leftist indoctrination that is so much a part of the education in today’s government schools if you can believe what you learn from friends and the media. Regrettably, the arbiter of reproduction decided it was not to be.

      On the other hand, I do pay taxes to support the government schools and I have a very real concern about the future of this country that I spend so much money trying to influence every election. Thus, though I don’t “. . .even have kids” I have a keen interest in what goes on in their education because they are our future so I’m told.

  • Denis Gould says:

    Rather than vouchers for the few I support the people’s money going to adequately fund education for the many public’s you’ve been elected to serve!

  • Diana Page says:

    Is the money for rural schools locked in? For how long? Rural counties need to be alert. Vouchers do not fix public education. Why can’t we learn from other states? Vouchers undermine community and beggar already underfunded public education.

    So-called “government schools” are the best thing we have going. Voucher schemes are simply methods of taking public money and putting it, as a free-ride, into private hands. The private schools make the choice, and can reject anyone for any reason. Many parents have already been rejected by private schools.

  • Priscilla Craig says:

    Why should public dollars go to private schools or corporations? Perhaps we should adequately fund public schools and teachers didn’t have to buy supplies out of their own pocket. I’m tired of picking a few children to get extra. All children deserve the best!!

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    “Vouchers do not fix pubic education.” I couldn’t disagree more! This flies in the face of the fact that capitalism under a free market system is so successful compared to socialism because of COMPETITION. Government schools are obviously and necessarily entrenched because most parents simply cannot afford to support government schools with their tax dollars while bearing the full costs of sending their children to private schools. Let the tax dollars follow the children and let parents make the choice as to which school is best for their children, that will cause schools to compete on a truly even playing field and make every school better and private schools cheaper. That’s what happens in the delivery of other services, why not schools?

    Then, of course, we have the nonsense that “vouchers undermine the community,” no doubt a talking point from the same crowd that came up with “Open primaries that allow liberals to vote in Republican Primaries encourage them to eventually become Republicans.” I’m always amazed, though by now I shouldn’t be, that people actually believe this stuff. Outside my window as I write children going to different schools are playing together. Nothing like the scenes from Le Miserables taking place in this community I’m happy to report. Bussing children en-masse from one government school to another because “diversity makes us stronger,” that’s an example of something that undermines communities.

    Government schools are a liberal talisman along with their nonsensical talking points. With the growing secularization of society I guess everyone needs something to believe in, but schools, governments, corporations are man-made some good, some bad. None is entitled to our wealth or veneration just because. It is best when all are subject to bracing competition and where that isn’t possible, to legal restraints, so what is the object of veneration by some does not become the source of repression to others.

    • David White says:

      Simply follow the money, Stuart. Why do all of these out of State Corporations want to throw millions of Dollars at Tennessee Politicians? It is because they want the ability to feed on the taxpayers.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        So it is, so it will always be. If it’s not the corporations throwing money at politicians in order to buy an advantage, it’s the teacher’s unions, or the bloated government education bureaucracy throwing money and threatening politicians with their votes.. The question still remains, what is the organization of our schools that will, in the long run, result in the most success for our students. Based on the history of free market private enterprise and the competition it entails vs. central planning and control by a government virtual monopoly, I will bet on the former to give us the most favorable results. Historically, we’ve relied on the latter with embarrassingly poor results compared to the other wealthy countries.

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  • Donna Locke says:

    Gah, what a session. Nothing conservative about it whatsoever.

    • Donna Locke says:

      I weeded half a flower bed yesterday evening. So many things need … weeding.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      That brings into sharp focus the fact that while there a few precious nuggets of conservative representation one can find in the legislature, by and large the Republican Party represents the Chamber of Commerce, not conservatives, and when you represent the Chamber your marching orders are simple, “Don’t do or say ANYTHING that interferes with profits, NOTHING”! My fellow conservatives please remember that when they hit you up for purchasing a ticket or two to the upcoming Statesman’s Dinner. Unless you are a Republican officeholder I suggest you simply suggest that they sell their tickets at the next meeting of the Chamber or a reasonable facsimile thereof like Williamson Inc. Millions for solid conservative candidates! Not a penny for the Republican Party!

      • Silence Dogood says:

        Sadly all too many business people ultimately can attribute their success to hard work, being pragmatic in making business decisions, and being at the right place at the right time with the right amount of money. All very admirable in our society. But they are not brilliant or deep thinkers like those who created this wonderful country. That’s OK. We, the citizens, need to remind them of that humbling fact periodically by regulations passed to contain and guide them.

      • MarLE says:

        Oh, no Stuart! I was hoping to see you, a little lighter in the wallet, at that wonderful opportunity for self-congratulations. Wasn’t the keynote speaker just fab last year. The 5% of the audience who could hear him said he was simply swell.

  • Silence Dogood says:

    Perhaps competition will drive DOWN administrative overhead at schools and drive UP teacher pay. For the same dollars. My understanding is that private schools and religion affiliated schools also provide safer work environments for teachers and students. More stable discipline standards that are enforced on students and teachers alike will also add to the quality of the educational product. Less College prep and more vocational educational alternatives will be on the table, too. Bring on Vouchers!! Freedom of choice!!

    • MarLE says:

      Safer work environments in private school…..wonder why that is. Teachers will say b/c the privates kick out those who disrupt learning. Could be the case in public schools as well but teachers’ very loud voices on some issues which produced, over the last 20 yrs, ever increasing pay have not succeeded one bit on in advocating for strict discipline in the classroom.

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