On the Politics of Vouchers in Northeast TN

Some Northeast Tennessee legislators are opposing Gov. Bill Haslam’s voucher bill, according to Robert Houk. He suspects it’s not all a matter of philosophical differences.
Now, the Republican governor and the GOP-led state General Assembly is looking to divert already limited state and local tax dollars away from public education to private schools. Haslam’s voucher plan is seeing opposition from teachers, school boards and Democrats.
And the governor’s bill is not getting any love from state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough. Boss Hill has vowed to stand with the school boards of Johnson City and Washington County, which aren’t keen on the idea of losing precious tax dollars to private schools.
Even so, Hill is not necessarily philosophically opposed to school vouchers. Hill says he is opposed to the governor’s bill because it is aimed squarely at failing schools in urban areas (Memphis and Nashville) and not the better academically performing school systems in our area.
Freshman state Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, agrees with Hill on this matter.
“I think vouchers are a good idea, but it’s hard to say what the details of the legislation will be,” Van Huss told Press staff writer Gary B. Gray earlier this month.
Actually, it’s not. The governor’s bill is pretty specific when it comes to the particulars of the proposed voucher system.
So what’s really going on here? Why do Hill and Van Huss (and we suspect Hill’s brother, Timothy, too) appear to be solid votes against Haslam’s voucher bill? Some Capitol Hill insiders believe it’s Hill’s way of exacting some revenge for Haslam’s overhaul of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority.

One thought on “On the Politics of Vouchers in Northeast TN

  1. Eric H

    “…it is aimed squarely at failing schools in urban areas (Memphis and Nashville) and not the better academically performing school systems in our area.”
    So who is going to force parents to choose to leave those better academically performing schools (and pay even more)? Isn’t it true that “better academically performing” schools don’t have a thing to worry about?

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