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Funding for education in 2020 has increased and the increase in money will allow for more freedom to be given to the states to decide how to use the money. The government is offering more money for teacher's to receive customized development. There will also be money allotted to provide teacher's with better residency programs. Money also was increased for special needs programs and to work towards providing safer schools for our children. With all this extra money, it would seem that the states would be able to improve school systems and improve academic outcomes in districts. However, does the Federal and State government know what the schools really need to be successful?

The Tennessee House of Representatives have passed a historic bill for education. This bill is surrounded by controversies and will be leading to possible troubles in the education of Tennessee children. It is possible that other states will follow the example and cause trouble with education across the United States. The Bill proposes that educational savings accounts be developed for students or families who do not attend public school. 

The House bill would start in 3 of the major cities in Tennessee: Chattanooga, Memphis, and Nashville. Up to 5,000 students will have access to funding based on income. This funding is so that parents and students are able to have a choice in the quality of education that the child can receive. Having the ability to pursue the best educational experiences for your child is great in theory. Many parents would love to place their child within a private school. However, will this program be able to provide for parents whose children do not attend public school while still providing all the educational needs in the public school setting? We will have to wait and see. 

The House is still ironing out all the details on how the voucher system will apply and how families will be able to get assistance. For over a decade the House has voted no on the voucher programs. This Bill narrowly passed and only passed when Rep. Jason Zachary changed his vote. The Knoxville Republican changed his vote before the final tally. The vote was also kept open longer due to some people not being present for the vote. The entire process seemed to be disorganized and forced. 

To further the issue with voucher Bill's, this is a type of Bill that has already been done in Louisiana. Parents were given a voucher so that their children would be able to attend private school should they choose that it would provide a higher quality of education. Data did not support that private schools provided higher quality of education. In fact there was not much data available for private schools previously. As students entered into the private school setting and data was collected, it was found that math scores were dropping. Though this is not at all the private schools, some did see a rise in reading and math scores. Does this provide evidence of a higher quality education? Or is it just evidence of spending money for a sub-par education? In actuality it is hard to tell, due to the fact that their is not much data collected from before the voucher program. Data is now collected each year to track the programs. 

As the data continues to be collected it will be able to back whether the program is working. It is shown now that the students who are enrolled in the private schools with a voucher may not receive as much academic preparedness for college, but that they are just as likely to attend college. If this is the case, what purpose are we serving children by placing them in private education? Will this program work in Tennessee where the school systems are already having significant struggles? 

With so many programs in school systems nationwide that are struggling to provide enrichment programs, lunch, and assistance for special needs it would appear that money would be better placed into these programs. Programs that have been proven to help students and provide them with what they need to be successful. Not to remove students from public school and then place them into a private school where the education is either the same or the school does not provide the academic preparedness for college. 

Though the educational voucher program has not been as successful as it could have potentially been in Louisiana, this does not mean that Tennessee will meet the same fate. It is possible that this will benefit many families. Though there will be stipulations that many parents will not be happy about to be able to qualify. Such as home school students having to take standardized tests in the classroom. For some adding such stipulations would defeat the reason that the child was placed into a home school setting. It could also cause changes in test scores that will affect the funding that public schools receive. 

The thought can go further, will other states begin to jump on the voucher for education wagon? It is highly possible as times continue to change and school safety continues to be a concern in many districts. Education is moving towards being largely online, even in public schools. Using canvas platforms that teacher's use to assign work, assessments, and even to email students is making its way into middle schools and high schools. Though this is great for parents and helps students to prepare more for college, it takes away the need for classrooms. To a certain degree the computer has become the teacher and is able to do the job of the teacher. Lessons are taught by previously recorded videos and even videos are available for practice questions. With programs such as this making its way into the public education system, is it necessary to provide funding for private education? Is there not a way to set up scholarship funds or special accounts to order materials than to have a voucher program that has the high probability of funds being misused? There are many other options available rather than a voucher program. It will be several years before we see how well this works for Tennessee and if the program will have any ramifications from misappropriation of voucher uses. 

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