Memphis, TN — The Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) is disheartened to learn the 12-member House Finance, Ways and Means House Subcommittee refused to grant Representative John DeBerry’s, parent choice focused bills a chance at a vote during its Committee meeting today. Opposing Committee members also blocked the Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act bill, which was supported by Governor Bill Haslam, although this bill passed the House Education Committee and the state Senate last week with bipartisan support.
“The bills that were refused a vote today would have been a step in the right direction of increasing parents’ power to access high-quality educational options when making decisions about their children’s future,” said Tennessee BAEO State Director, Jennifer Littlejohn. “We believe all children deserve a right to receive an education that will allow them to compete globally and practice in the freedom of choice.”
The House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee denied a vote on whether to hear DeBerry’s bills by electing not to make a motion to take up either for a vote. One bill proposed would have allowed low-performing, turn-around schools to recruit students outside traditional school zone lines. The other bill would have lowered the number of votes needed from parents to exercise “parent trigger”, which allows parents to step in when a school is doing poorly and to make alternative decisions about how to manage the school.
“BAEO applauds Representatives DeBerry and McCormick and Senator Norris for showing courage to fight for the educational futures of low-income and working class children,” said Littlejohn. “When our education systems remain unchanged, so do the prospects of our children. Though disappointed with this outcome, we’re hopeful we can return to the Capitol next year and continue searching for ways to increase access to high-quality educational options for those that need them most.”