Legislature Approves Tennessee’s Historic Education Scholarship Accounts Program

Legislature Approves Tennessee’s Historic Education Scholarship Accounts Program

In an historic vote, the Tennessee General Assembly today gave final approval to the Volunteer State’s second program aimed at empowering families with the freedom to pursue the educational options best suited to their individual needs and aspirations.

Under HB 939, Tennessee will become the first state in the nation to offer two Education Scholarship Accounts programs: The new program passed today that will serve up to 15,000 lower income students in Memphis and Nashville and the original Individualized Education Accounts program for students with special needs across the state.

“For too long, lower income families have been denied the same range of educational options available to others. This program will transform the lives of thousands of families by providing them with not only the means to find the best fit for their unique needs, but with the power to pursue a better future.”

Patricia Levesque, executive director for ExcelinEd in Action

With an ESA, parents can direct education funding for their child to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice, including school tuition, curriculum, tutoring, testing, and therapies for students with learning disabilities.

A priority for Governor Bill Lee, the ESA legislation was carried by two longtime parental choice proponents – House Speaker Pro Tem Bill Dunn and Senate Education Chair Dolores Gresham – and was scrutinized by more than a dozen subcommittee, committee and floor votes. The bill now awaits Gov. Lee’s signature.

“We applaud Governor Lee, Speaker Glen Casada, Speaker Pro Tem Dunn, Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally and Chair Gresham for their bold action. By giving parents the ability to truly customize their children’s education, this program has the opportunity to transform thousands of lives. We also thank our partners in this monumental undertaking: the Beacon Center of Tennessee, TennesseeCAN and the Tennessee Federation for Children.”

Ryan Mahoney, Senior Legislative Director for ExcelinEd in Action

For more about ESAs and the transformative power of educational freedom, visit ExcelinEd’s policy library.