Rise & Shine: DeVos in Tennessee to tout school choice, vouchers gaining momentum

Good morning,

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will be in Nashville with Gov. Bill Lee today to help highlight the benefits of school choice, the governor's office announced over the weekend. The visit will include a roundtable discussion with families, educators, stakeholders and local elected leaders, and end with a visit to a public charter school "with a proven turnaround success story," according to the press release. We'll be there to see what she says.

In legislative news, Lee's bill to create education savings accounts, a form of vouchers, is quickly advancing in Tennessee’s House of Representatives. That's the chamber where a voucher bill has never before cleared all the hurdles necessary to become law. Although the voucher proposal has progressed further than past efforts, it still faces a number of hurdles.

Meanwhile, opponents of school vouchers in Tennessee have been trying to figure out governor's proposal while also scrambling to mobilize against it.

And in news about Tennessee’s Achievement School District, officials launched a parent congress last month to get input from parents about how to improve. The problem? Only one parent came.

For more on these stories, keep reading!

— Jacinthia Jones, bureau chief




VOUCHER VOTES Gov. Bill Lee’s education voucher proposal has momentum after passing in two legislative committees, but to become law the controversial bill still faces numerous votes that will get progressively harder. Chalkbeat

VOUCHER OPPOSITION Opponents of school vouchers in Tennessee have been trying to figure out Gov. Bill Lee’s proposal while also mobilizing against it. Chalkbeat

Despite Gov. Bill Lee’s advocacy for parental choice in schooling through his education savings account program, suburban Shelby County superintendents are united in their opposition to the idea. The Daily Memphian

PARENT CONGRESS Only one person came to a meeting of a new parent congress aimed to get more input from parents on how to improve Tennessee’s Achievement School District. Chalkbeat

DEVOS VISIT U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is coming to Nashville on Monday to join Gov. Bill Lee in a discussion about education, the governor’s office announced Sunday. The Tennessean, WSMV,

POLITICAL INTERVENTION Nashville Mayor David Briley has vowed to take a leading role in the future direction of the city’s schools and called on school board members to stop name-calling and fueling social media disputes. The Tennessean

Nashville Mayor David Briley says he’s going to play a heavier role in the search for a new director of public schools. Nashville Public Radio

MORALITY CLAUSE A national group that advocates for the separation of church and state in schools is threatening legal action over a morality clause in a lease agreement between a group of Memphis charter schools and the Catholic Church. The Commercial Appeal

CAMPUS TOUR Fourth- and fifth-graders from several Memphis schools toured the University of Memphis campus as a part of “Visit Day,” sponsored by the university and Shelby County Schools. The Daily Memphian

TAX HIKE? Knox County commissioners will have to decide whether they support the school superintendent’s plan for three new grammar schools. Knoxville News Sentinel