Ramsey lauds vouchers to school choice activists; Haslam not so much

Gov. Bill Haslam took the podium in front of Tennessee’s most ardent “school choice” supporters but barely alluded to the item they covet most, reports The Tennessean. That would be a state voucher system that would allow public dollars to go toward private schooling.

Up next, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey called such a plan the single biggest area Tennessee must address after major education changes recently.

“The one thing that we’re lacking is that school choice,” Ramsey told a crowd gathered in Nashville to celebrate National School Choice week. He called parents at failing public schools “trapped,” adding, “The time has come for that to change.”

Their remarks reflect different paths into renewed Republican negotiations over vouchers, one year after a proposal died in the Senate.

…Haslam and Ramsey spoke Tuesday before nearly 1,000 private school children and parents bused into Nashville from across the state. Nine groups organized the event, including StudentsFirst, Tennessee Federation for Children and the Beacon Center of Tennessee.

…Haslam told the audience Tennessee needs more choice, reminding them of a bill he signed into law that opened charter schools to all Tennessee students. He then applauded the state’s private schools: “We want to give the opportunity for more students to have more opportunity.