School Choice Bill on the Brink of Passage in Tennessee, Gains 30 Co-Sponsors
NASHVILLE, TENN. (April 14, 2015) – Today, the Gardenhire/Dunn Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act reached a milestone 30 co-sponsors on the legislation. The bill has already passed the full Senate and has received overwhelming support in House committee votes this session. The Tennessee Federation for Children released the following statement in support:
“School choice continues to gain legislative support that matches the sentiment of parents across the state,” said Tony Niknejad of the Tennessee Federation for Children. “While special interests have tried to thwart the needs of parents and children, these courageous legislators are working to provide opportunity for parents and children in need. It’s time for all parents, regardless of their financial means, to have the opportunity to decide their child’s educational future.”
This year, there has been a groundswell of grassroots support for school choice in the state:
- Garnering frontpage headlines, more than 25,000 parents partnered with the Memphis leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Council to present petitions to the state legislature urging for support of the Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act.
- In February, polls showed that the vast majority of Tennesseans stand with those parents in Memphis. 59 percent of voters support school choice legislation and 67 percent would consider using an opportunity scholarship if the law passes.
- In March, Assistant General Manager of the New York Knicks and former University of Tennessee basketball star Allan Houston visited the State Capitol to discuss the importance of education issues for children in the state. Houston met with numerous lawmakers and was formally recognized on the House floor by Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville. Houston discussed how the influences throughout his life, on and off the court, have shaped his character and mission in life. “One thing that we all agree on is that our kids deserve the best education they can get,” said Allan Houston. “Our work with the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation is dedicated to making sure that we have a positive impact on the lives of the kids in our communities. We want to make sure that we all have one message, as teachers, coaches or parents, to give our kids the best opportunities available, and too many bright young minds don’t get that opportunity.”
Co-Sponsors for Rep. Dunn’s Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act, HB 1049:
Rep. J. Sexton
Rep. M. White
Rep. K. Brooks
Rep. D. White