Governor Haslam Signs School Choice Bill for Special Needs Students in Tennessee

Ceremonial bill signing marks milestone for when Tennessee became the 23rd School Choice State

NASHVILLE, TENN. (June 10, 2015) – In a ceremonial event at The War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Gov. Bill Haslam (R-TN) marked a milestone for Tennessee by publicly signing the Individualized Education Act into law. Last month, Haslam privately signed the bill into law making Tennessee the 23rd school choice state and the fourth state to have an education savings account (ESA) program.

“Tennessee has taken a positive step forward in offering parents and students access to quality educational options,” said Tommy Schultz, communications director for the Tennessee Federation for Children. “This law will offer families whose children have special needs the access to needed options, and ensure special needs students receive a quality education.”

ESAs are an emerging form of educational choice sweeping the country. The programs empower parents to have the flexibility to customize their child’s learning experience. The American Federation for Children has worked nationwide to enact new ESA programs including passing the nation’s first program in Arizona and most recently helping pass the nation’s most expansive ESA program in Nevada.

“There is an education revolution sweeping the country and it has touched Tennessee – parents are hungry and anxious to take more control over their child’s education, especially parents’ whose children are trapped in schools that fail to meet their needs,” added Schultz. “We are grateful for Gov. Haslam’s leadership on this issue and we look forward to continuing to create new ways to empower more parents and help more students reach their full potential.”

Tennessee’s Individualized Education Act Facts:

-This year, lawmakers passed the Individualized Education Program, providing education savings accounts for special education.

-The education savings accounts in Tennessee allow parents with qualified students to use more than $6,000 per year to pay for tutoring, therapy, or alternative education – these options are critically important to parents with children who have unique learning challenges.

States with Education Savings Accounts:






ESA Special Needs Impact:

In Arizona, ESAs are already being used to help change lives: watch Salima’s Success Story to learn more about how an ESA opened up new opportunities for one girl.