ACTION! We Need Your Voice NOW on the TN State BUDGET!
Updated: May 5
In a bipartisan vote in the House, testing has been waived for 2019-20. Thank you.
PLEASE CALL AND EMAIL YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS NOW! They are on break until 2 pm and then in session until this is done today. ACT NOW> http://www.capitol.tn.gov/legislators/
HERE IS WHY WE NEED YOUR VOICE NOW! >>>The State Legislature must appropriate a budget for the good of your districts - not by sending $38 million to private schools in Memphis and Nashville through private school vouchers. Then the General Assembly needs to adjourn to protect their health. We need them home, safe, and leading through this crisis.
The General Assembly is in the process of trying to pass the budget NOW, and it will happen TODAY (THURSDAY MARCH 19TH-). House committees are done. Senate should finish committees ASAP. The debate is going to go on in BOTH the House and Senate throughout the day and into the evening while the capital is on lockout to the public, lobbyists and non-essential staff. Some media is present. How do you practice social distancing huddled in the wheel and deal?
Currently, the General Assembly plans to keep funding in the budget to launch Lee’s school voucher program this fall (A year earlier than planned.) while cutting public ed and other emergency needs. They are essentially prioritizing Memphis, and Nashville private schools over the State’s obligation to the general welfare and our current Covid-19 crisis.
The legislature has the power to allocate and to defund, not the governor. They can zero out the $38 million for vouchers and put it towards the BEP funds or needed emergency funds. They have the power to do that. Why are they supporting a voucher program they all were “so sad” about getting passed? Think about that during the election season.
HERE IS WHAT PARENTS WANT: We need the Tennessee Department of Education to put every bit of time and resources into resolving missed instructional time, how to create opportunities to learn or how to come back and make up learning time for 993,496 students enrolled in a total of 1,817 schools in 141 school districts. We need resources to help make learning happen, like literacy materials; in a system that is so underfunded, we do not have 1 to 1 computers for students or the infrastructure to do online learning everywhere.
And schools are now expected to close the food insecurity gap. We need focus, guidance and leadership from the TDOE, not a pet voucher project that gives away money to private schools and precious time managing it. The TDOE needs to use its time and resources to battle this current Covid-19 crisis.
And we can do it very efficiently with $38 million put back into the BEP to fund our schools and teacher pay, or to help with emergency spending. Vouchers are a distraction. Parents who have means will provide. Those that don’t have money to supplement at home or access to education essentials will suffer learning loss and the achievement gap will grow. We need all available resources focused to address our current crisis. Ask your elected officials: Appropriate a budget for the good of your districts. Not by sending $38 million to private schools in Memphis and Nashville.
YOU CAN ALSO FILL OUT THE Tn.gov CONTACT FORM and share your feedback!
There is also the issue of adding to the rainy-day fund instead of funding essentials. What household budget cuts essential spending while adding to their savings account? Keep the money in public education and other state needs. It is raining NOW. And we need funding also to help small businesses and families survive. Do not add to the rainy-day fund. It looks shady.
We encourage every citizen to watch this all go down online through live stream HERE starting Thursday at 2 pm cst. (if they start on time- be patient) http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/livevideo/ And be sure to click on the agendas in the right column to read about the legislation being discussed. Both the House and Senate will probably be debating into the evening. With intermittent breaks that will break the live stream. Email, call, text NOW! Let them know we need a strong Tennessee Public Education System to come back to for all 993,496 students. And we need support from our State, not cuts.