NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — About sixty people rallied outside of the Ellington Agricultural Center in Nashville in support of public schools and school boards Thursday.
“They’re representing their constituents, they’re representing their community, the families that are using the schools, the stakeholders for the schools,” Metro Nashville Education Association president Michele Sheriff said.
The Department of Education held a public rulemaking hearing about the Tennessee Investment in Student Achievement Act (TISA). Governor Bill Lee signed the act back in May with bipartisan support in the legislature.
TISA changes the way funds are released to a student-based method rather than a resource-based one. There will be a $6,860 base fund allocated per student, with more funding available should the student need more resources.
But will it vary, depending on how charter school vouchers and private schools have entered the mix in education in Tennessee? That’s one thing rally-goers wanted an answer to.
“Do they want someone coming in from outside who thinks that anyone can teach students?” Sheriff said. “That people who can’t make it in other parts of the university can go and are educated in the ‘dumbest parts of a university?’”
She’s referring to Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College in Michigan who came under fire for an offensive comment toward teachers last month. The college has been trying to sponsor charter schools throughout the state but has now been rejected by several school districts.
Rally-goers urged the government to prioritize students and teachers in TISA, not outside corporations or colleges.
“I think we need to put the funding into our public schools,” former professor Dr. Patricia Waters said. “I think our public schools need us, our teachers need our support. They are our community, they are the bedrock of democracy.”
The Department of Education will continue taking written comments on TISA until August 2nd.