Caravan From Memphis Rallies In Nashville For School Choice

(Memphis) As the future of dozens of Shelby County Schools hangs in the balance, some parents are looking at other educational opportunities for their children.

Tuesday, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sent a small fleet of buses to Nashville to rally for school choice and push for school vouchers.

"People might say, 'why would you take public dollars to fund private schools.' Well, they took public dollars to bail out corporations, so we need to bail out our children," said Rev. Dwight Montgomery with the SCLC.

Buses from around the state brought supporters to the Capitol.

Tennessee lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow parents to move their child from a failing public school, to a private school, with state funding for tuition.

The SCLC says it support public education, but says many children in Shelby County Schools are not learning.

"They need that opportunity and we are promoting these vouchers we call opportunity scholarships," said Rev. Dwight Montgomery with the Southern. Christian Leadership Conference.

The National Education Association says there is no link between vouchers and gains in student achievement, and says vouchers actually reduce public education funds and hurt public schools.

The teachers union has promised to fight school vouchers.

Typically, private schools do not work with unions.

Rep. Johnnie Turner (D-Memphis) and former head of the NAACP here says she and the NAACP oppose vouchers, "Our community faces many challenges that can and must be addressed with education. The idea that we should privatize education as the best way to meet those challenges is wrong on the facts, and a real threat to the future of our community."