Access to a quality education is the greatest equalizer in society. Every child deserves access to a quality education that best fits their unique educational needs. However, when we continue to rely on a ZIP code to determine a child’s access to education, we trap low- and middle-income families in a system with no options. If a child is zoned for a school that can’t meet their unique needs, that family’s only option is to take the financial responsibility upon themselves find an alternative for that student—a cost barrier that prevents the majority of families across the state from being able to send their child to the school that best suits their needs and prepares them for a bright future.
However, much work remains to be done. While our state’s education outcomes have improved, Tennessee continues to rank in the middle of the pack in terms of education outcomes. Tennessee can continue to give parents control of their student’s education by expanding the Education Savings Account program for students across the state, regardless of their demographic, geographic area, or income levels.
Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act
It's time for Tennessee to fund students over the education system. In addition to funding priorities that are out of line with student needs, the Basic Education Program is too complex for parents, taxpayers, educators, and even legislators to understand. The Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act would drastically improve how Tennessee funds public education.
The COVID-19 ESA Expansion Act
In many places, schools are openly defying the law by punishing or not allowing students trying to opt out mask mandates. By giving parents part of their tax dollars back to pay for education expenses like tuition at a private school of their choice, parents can ensure that their children get the education they deserve.
More Opportunities for Students in Tennessee (MOST) Act
The “More Opportunities for Students in Tennessee” (MOST) Act creates a three-year grant program for families to help address student learning loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the MOST Act, parents receive $3,000 grants, funded by federal COVID education dollars that can be used for services like tutoring, educational therapy, textbooks, technology, and other educational expenses.
Authorizing students with dyslexia to benefit from the IEA program
Parents and students with dyslexia need to have options. There is a new bill in the Tennessee General Assembly that allows students with dyslexia the opportunity to participate in the IEA program and get the services they need and deserve.
For more information visit the Beacon Center of Tennessee.