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June 13, 2017
Betsy DeVos to charter school leaders: Your schools ‘are not the one cure-all’
Her remarks hinted at growing divides within the school choice movement.
May 24, 2017
School choice supporters downplay new voucher research, saying schools are more than a test score
Leading supporters emphasized the impact the programs have beyond test scores, as well as the shortcomings of recent studies.
vying for vouchers
May 24, 2017
Grilled by lawmakers, Betsy DeVos says voucher rules should be set locally — even if some kids are shut out
The budget has put more attention on a key aspect of how these voucher programs work: without standard rules for accountability and access.
vying for vouchers
May 23, 2017
On Betsy DeVos’s budget wish list: $250M to ‘build the evidence base’ for vouchers
The funding boost aimed at justifying private-school choice programs is one way DeVos is delivering on years of advocacy for those programs.
May 21, 2017
Head of Democrats For Education Reform blasts DeVos, calls push for vouchers a ‘sideshow’
Chalkbeat sat down with DFER’s president Shavar Jeffries to ask, what now?
May 10, 2017
Private schools seeking relief from years of bad grades met with rejection from Indiana State Board
State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick and fellow board members Gordon Hendry and Steve Yager were opposed.
May 8, 2017
Lawmakers want more research before they spend big on preschool. When it comes to vouchers, there’s no such hesitation.
Both issues were heavily debated in the recent legislative session.
May 2, 2017
Before voucher legislation comes back in 2018, Tennessee lawmakers want a plan to determine whether vouchers work
Lawmakers who backed a proposal for a Memphis pilot program hope to clear up questions about what kind of tests students who accept vouchers should take.
May 1, 2017
Indiana private schools can get state dollars immediately thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Holcomb
The move eliminates a one-year waiting period for private schools to be eligible for vouchers.
April 27, 2017
Matt Damon’s latest role: The voice of an education documentary featuring Tennessee testing
Called “Backpack Full of Cash,” the 90-minute film features a Nashville elementary school and school board member Amy Frogge.
April 26, 2017
Plan for school vouchers in Tennessee on hold again, despite national momentum
Rep. Harry Brooks, the bill's House sponsor, pushed his proposal for a five-year Memphis pilot program until 2018, an anticlimactic ending after months of debate.
Doing the math
April 25, 2017
As lawmakers scrutinize the price tag of school vouchers in Memphis, here’s a cost breakdown
The estimated price tag for Shelby County Schools is about $18 million a year, but the true cost could be far more — or less.
April 14, 2017
It’s past the halfway point at the Tennessee legislature. Here are proposals that still could change the state’s schools.
Less than half of the more than 150 separate proposals originally filed with the Tennessee General Assembly are still standing, on issues ranging from school discipline to turnaround.
April 13, 2017
How vouchers transformed Indiana: Private schools now live or die by test scores, too
Low test scores have cost 16 schools the right to accept new vouchers. At least three have closed.
April 12, 2017
House panel advances Memphis school voucher bill with no recommendation
After a three-week stall, a proposal to create a school voucher program in Memphis is on the move again.
April 10, 2017
As school voucher vote approaches in Nashville, most Memphis advocacy groups don’t want program piloted in their city
Here's where grassroots organizations in Memphis stand on a voucher bill that would impact their community.
April 5, 2017
Tennessee voucher bill stalls as lawmakers strip TNReady testing requirement
After sailing through several legislative panels, a school voucher bill stalls in a House committee for a second straight week.
April 4, 2017
Amended bill could add 13,000 students to Tennessee’s first foray into vouchers
A bill that originally had nothing to do with school vouchers now could reallocate tens of thousands of public dollars to private services for special-needs students.
March 30, 2017
For the first time, Tennessee school voucher advocates are pushing for TNReady in private schools. Here’s why.
If Tennessee private schools want to take advantage of public money that could soon be flowing their way, they might have to…
March 29, 2017
Some Catholic schools may shun Memphis voucher program over TNReady
A lobbyist for the Tennessee Catholic Public Policy Commission testifies in front of a House committee considering school vouchers.
March 28, 2017
Memphis lawmaker, voucher advocate says ‘unraised’ students hold back public schools, teachers
Rep. John DeBerry’s comments offer new insight into his motivation for wanting families to be able to use public funding to pay private school tuition.
March 23, 2017
Why this Memphis Republican supports school vouchers — but is concerned about accountability
Rep. Mark White talks about the legislature’s last remaining voucher bill, as well as a proposal to give in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.
March 21, 2017
Memphis voucher pilot plan clears first full House committee
After a fierce, two-hour debate largely between Memphis-area lawmakers, the bill passes 8-5 in a House education committee.
March 20, 2017
Tennessee’s leading voucher bill is aimed at Memphis, where most elected officials are on the record against it
The proposal has momentum despite opposition from Shelby County's Board of Commissioners, most of its legislative delegation, and numerous school boards.
March 15, 2017
Trump mum about his school choice plan as he prepares to release his budget
While some reports said the president would highlight school choice at a Nashville rally, he gave only brief billing to the topic at the conclusion of his speech.
March 15, 2017
Before Trump speaks in Nashville, here are five things to know about school choice in Tennessee
Tennessee is a battleground state in the debate over school tuition vouchers, and has seen steady growth in its charter school sector since 2003.
March 14, 2017
Debate over Sunday sports bumps vote on Memphis school tuition vouchers
About 40 Memphians made the seven-hour round trip drive to Nashville, only to have the voucher bill that rallied them delayed.
March 14, 2017
Lawmakers puzzle over how to expand vouchers for students with disabilities without hurting local schools
When it comes to students who have never attended public schools, even lawmakers who support vouchers are reticent to give them state funding for private services.
March 13, 2017
The voucher bill tailor-made for Memphis? Many Memphians are offended by it.
The strongest voices against Tennessee’s leading school voucher proposal are coming from the very community it’s supposed to help.
March 9, 2017
Here’s what you need to know about Tennessee’s latest voucher proposal
Here are answers to questions from some of our readers about a new proposal to pilot tuition vouchers in Memphis.
March 8, 2017
Tuition voucher bill targeting Memphis breezes through key Senate committee
With seven of nine Senate committee members co-sponsoring the bill, the issue was all but decided before discussion even began.
And so it begins
March 7, 2017
Tennessee lawmakers take first step toward school vouchers
Tennessee lawmakers easily advance a proposal that would start a five-year pilot program in Memphis.
March 7, 2017
Tennessee’s voucher proposals target schools already struggling with low enrollment
Public schools in Memphis stand to experience most of the fallout if state lawmakers decide to approve voucher legislation this year.
Numbers are in
March 6, 2017
Three months into Tennessee’s first voucher foray, 35 students are enrolled
About 20,000 students were eligible for the program, which gives students with certain disabilities public money for private services.
By the numbers
March 1, 2017
Participation in Indiana’s 6-year-old voucher program is at a record high, but growth is slowing.
Indiana’s sweeping voucher program appears to be reaching an equilibrium. The number of students using vouchers grew at the lowest rate since the program began in 2011.
February 28, 2017
Voucher-like proposal could take $71 million of public school funding from all Tennessee districts
The Empowerment Scholarship Accounts Act would allow public school dollars to go toward private education services.
February 21, 2017
Here’s what Superintendent Hopson told state lawmakers in Nashville about Memphis schools
Dorsey Hopson seeks to break the stigma and stereotypes of schools in Tennessee's largest district.
February 20, 2017
Lawmakers want to allow appeals before low-rated private schools lose vouchers
Indiana House lawmakers signaled support today for a plan to loosen restrictions for private schools accepting state voucher dollars.
February 7, 2017
Worried Betsy DeVos could ‘destroy’ public education? Here’s what you should know
Here’s what you should read to start getting a handle on the possibilities.
February 3, 2017
Tennessee Democrats want opponents of DeVos nomination to call Alexander, Corker this weekend
As Monday's Senate confirmation vote approaches, the battle heats up over the embattled nominee for U.S. education secretary.
TN in DC
February 2, 2017
Tennessee school board leaders met this week with Sen. Lamar Alexander. Here’s what they talked about.
Three issues shaping Tennessee public education get the ear of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander as representatives of the state's school boards association travel to D.C.
A tale of two bills
February 1, 2017
One is not like the other: Memphis is the difference in competing school voucher bills
Voucher opponents and advocates alike bristle at a proposal that would only apply to Memphis.
January 31, 2017
Two preschool proposals are on the table, and one has already faced criticism for adding a pathway to vouchers
After today, there are two main preschool proposals on the table going forward.
January 23, 2017
Gearing up for Tennessee’s voucher fight? Here are eight stories to read.
This will mark Tennessee’s seventh year of legislative debate over vouchers.
January 19, 2017
Will Betsy DeVos change education as you know it? Probably not — but your state lawmakers could
The most important upcoming decisions about schools won’t be made by DeVos. They’ll happen in the state legislatures.
January 9, 2017
Here are four education issues to watch as Tennessee’s legislature kicks off
Tennessee lawmakers expect to revisit two perennial questions about school spending and vouchers during the 110th General Assembly, which starts this week.
January 9, 2017
What we’ll be listening for at the confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick
Where she stands on education policy issues beyond school choice, for one.
January 5, 2017
People who say geography means rural areas can’t share in Trump’s school choice vision are wrong. Here’s why
Having worked with rural schools for 28 years, I know that geography isn’t an insurmountable hurdle.
year in review
December 21, 2016
Ten stories defining Tennessee public education in 2016
From testing and standards to school funding and bus safety, Tennessee has navigated a tumultuous and historic year.
December 7, 2016
Tennessee teachers group cautions Alexander about Trump’s pick for ed chief
The Professional Educators of Tennessee expresses reservations about Betsy DeVos because of her support for vouchers and lack of public school experience.
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