“Tennessee parents should have the freedom to choose the right education for their child” – Governor Bill Lee

Nashville – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee presented the Education Freedom Scholarship Act of 2024, his administration’s legislative proposal to establish statewide universal school choice, alongside members of the General Assembly, Tennessee families and education stakeholders.

This legislation aims to provide every Tennessee parent with the opportunity to choose the right education for their child, while prioritizing families with the greatest need.

View the Education Freedom launch event here.

“A high-quality education has the power to change the trajectory of a child’s life, and there’s no question that now is the time to make school choice a reality for every Tennessee family,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “Tennessee’s Education Freedom Scholarships will empower parents with the freedom to choose the right education for their child, while also giving them a say in how their taxpayer dollars are invested. In the coming months, I look forward to working with Tennessee families and members of the General Assembly to accomplish this historic legislative initiative and establish Tennessee as a leader in providing choice for families while also striving toward the best public school system in the country.”

The Education Freedom Scholarship Act will empower Tennessee parents with the freedom to choose the right school for their child and give families a choice where their taxpayer dollars are spent.

“We all agree that every child should have an opportunity for a quality education that meets their needs, and I strongly believe the ultimate decision should be made by parents, not government bureaucrats,” said House Speaker Cameron Sexton.“This scholarship opportunity is funded outside the current K-12 funding model, TISA, which means dollars do not follow students. We all know a quality education changes one’s life and reduces poverty and crime within communities. In the future in Tennessee, students and parents will be in control of their education success, without the government limiting their opportunities.”

Tennessee residents entitled to attend K-12 at a public school, including home-schoolers enrolled in umbrella or church-related schools, will be eligible for the program. The bill is structured to prioritize eligibility for the most at-risk students before ramping up to universal eligibility.

In the 2024-25 school year: 

  • A total of 20,000 scholarships will be awarded on a rolling first-come, first-served basis.
  • 10,000 scholarships available for Tennessee students who are at or below 300% of the federal poverty level, have a disability, or are eligible for the existing ESA pilot program. 10,000 additional scholarships available to a universal pool of students entitled to attend a public school.
  • 2025-26 school year and beyond: Universal eligibility for all students entitled to attend a public school. If applications exceed available scholarships due to funding, lower income, public-school and returning scholarship students will receive priority.

Image by jcomp on Freepik.

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