Ladd, Frogge: Repurpose education funds, invest in community schools to benefit all children

When meeting with elected leaders tasked with improving education in Tennessee, we have heard a common refrain: “We have to do something.”

In response to public education challenges, our state has tried various “solutions,” almost all of which have involved privatization: vouchers, charter schools, excessive for-profit standardized testing and expensive curriculums.

None of these options has made a sustainable difference. In fact, vouchers and charter schools have made it worse, serving to exacerbate existing inequities in school systems by draining desperately needed funding from the neighborhood schools that serve around 90% of Tennessee’s students. Often, the real impetus behind these privatization efforts is not the well-being of children, but a desire for personal profit. School privatization turns children into commodities and makes markets out of our classrooms. We must do better for Tennessee’s children.

Solutions don’t address root issues

The reason these “solutions” haven’t made any real impact is simple:

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