School Choice Bill gains 35 co-sponsors

NASHVILLE, TENN. (April 19, 2015) – The Tennessee Choice & Opportunity Scholarship Act reached a milestone 35 co-sponsors on the legislation, further indicating the overwhelming support for school choice. The hurdle currently facing the legislation is the 12 member House Finance sub-committee. The bill has already passed the full Senate and has received overwhelming support in previous House committee votes this session. The Tennessee Federation for Children and The Beacon Center released the following statements in support: 

Tennessee Federation for Children

"School choice continues to gain legislative support in the final moments of this year’s session," said Tony Niknejad of the Tennessee Federation for Children. "Parents and children who want to have the opportunity to go to a better school that fits their needs will be watching closely as legislators vote next week. For too long, those parents and children have been stuck in a failing school system that the special interests deem to be ‘the way it is.’ These families deserve better than the status quo, and the House members have a chance to make a difference in their lives." 

Beacon Center:

"School choice continues to gain momentum as the legislative session winds down," said Beacon Center CEO Justin Owen. "After working hard with organizations like TFC and Students First for the last three years to get a school choice program passed in Tennessee, the dream of a quality education may finally become a reality for thousands of children.

"Not only will this program provide new pathways for children struggling to obtain a quality education, it will also create more resources for the students who stay in our public education system. School choice really is a rising tide that lifts all boats."

This year, there has been a groundswell of grassroots support for school choice in the state:  

  • Garnering frontpage headlines, more than 25,000 parents partnered with the Memphis leadership of the Southern Christian Leadership Council to present petitions to the state legislature urging for support of the Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act.
  • In February, polls showed that the vast majority of Tennesseans stand with those parents in Memphis. 59 percent of voters support school choice legislation and 67 percent would consider using an opportunity scholarship if the law passes.
  • In March, Assistant General Manager of the New York Knicks and former University of Tennessee basketball star Allan Houston visited the State Capitol to discuss the importance of education issues for children in the state. Houston met with numerous lawmakers and was formally recognized on the House floor by Rep. Ryan Haynes of Knoxville. Houston discussed how the influences throughout his life, on and off the court, have shaped his character and mission in life. "One thing that we all agree on is that our kids deserve the best education they can get," said Allan Houston. "Our work with the Allan Houston Legacy Foundation is dedicated to making sure that we have a positive impact on the lives of the kids in our communities. We want to make sure that we all have one message, as teachers, coaches or parents, to give our kids the best opportunities available, and too many bright young minds don’t get that opportunity."

Co-Sponsors for Rep. Dunn’s Tennessee Choice and Opportunity Scholarship Act, HB 1049:

Rep. J. Sexton

Rep. McCormick

Rep. Carter

Rep. Johnson

Rep. Goins

Rep. Holt

Rep. Spivey

Rep. Butt

Rep. Powers

Rep. Kane

Rep. Haynes

Rep. Lundberg

Rep. Casada

Rep. Williams

Rep. M. White

Rep. K. Brooks

Rep. Matlock

Rep. Matheny

Rep. Sargent

Rep. DeBerry

Rep. Kumar

Rep. Moody

Rep. D. White

Rep. Ragan

Rep. Rogers

Rep. Gravitt

Rep. Sparks

Rep. Lynn

Rep. Littleton

Rep. Reedy

Rep. Durham

Rep. Daniel

Rep. Womick

Rep. Pody

Rep. H. Brooks 

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