TN Pastors Oppose Gov. Lee's School Voucher Plan

Advocate Andy

Group calls for fully funded public schools

A group of Tennessee pastors expressed opposition to a school voucher plan announced by Gov. Bill Lee yesterday.

The pastors, affiliated with the advocacy group Southern Christian Coalition, said the plan would harm the state's public education system and called instead for Lee and lawmakers to fully fund public schools.

"As a pastor and as father I believe that we deserve elected leaders who know our children’s worth and are willing to prove it by fully funding public education instead of pursuing political games such as vouchers that are meant to divide and distract us," responded Rev. Brandon Berg, Pastor of Norris and Sinking Springs United Methodist Churches in the Knoxville area. "Every time I read the Bible, I find a Jesus who feeds the hungry and loves and embraces children, who fights for the most vulnerable around him. If Governor Lee claims the Christian faith, and we know he does, then he must change course and start to prioritize the education of every Tennessee child by fully funding our public schools and end this voucher scheme that would create even more inequity in Tennessee schools and instead work to benefit his wealthy friends and donors."

The group said they believe the voucher plan will have a negative impact on public schools.

Rev. Ella Clay, Senior Pastor of Historic First Community Church in Nashville stated, "Most Tennesseans believe that every child should have the freedom to learn and pursue their dreams in a high quality, well resourced public school. The majority of Tennessee children receive their education in public schools, and if Governor Lee's plan to expand the voucher program is successful, the children who will be adversely affected are those who are already struggling while as tax payers we will end up subsidizing the private school educations of the wealthy."

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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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