Pastors and Parents in Tennessee Call for Investment in Public Schools

Advocate Andy

Group decries Gov. Bill Lee's plan to invest in Hillsdale charter schools

A group of pastors and parents affiliated with the Southern Christian Coalition issued a response to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's plan to invest state dollars in charter schools run by Hillsdale College in Michigan. The group expressed concern about underfunding of public schools as a result of K-12 funds being sent to the new charter entities.

Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs, Pastor of Franklin Community Church in Franklin said, “No matter what we look like, where we live, or what's in our wallets, most of us want our neighborhood public schools to inspire imagination, cultivate critical thinking, and ensure our children can live fulfilling lives. This is the vision we have for our children to have success. But with this new charter school plan, Governor Lee is instead working to divide us. This charter school plan would prioritize certain schools and communities, which would lead to only some schools having adequate money for computers, teacher training and parent engagement, while at the same time funding would be depleted from the schools already struggling, and that have already been deprived for too long.”

Former Nashville School Board member Amy Frogge, the parent of two public school students, noted the need for better investment in public schools.

“We need to invest in our community schools and to truly support our teachers. As a public school parent myself, I know what parents really want. We want well resourced, stable neighborhood schools with great programming and full funding that are open to all students. We want our state to truly invest in our communities and local schools, not extremist schemes out of Michigan.”

Rev Gordon Myers, retired Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Pastor, was the final pastor to speak and said, “It's difficult to see how diverting funds from our constitutionally mandated public school system, which is already underfunded, where our teachers are underpaid, and tired and worn out, and turning funding over to charter schools, conceived, designed and directed by an out of state institution… It's hard to see how that translates into more freedom for Tennesseans."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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