By SHEILA BURKE and ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Proponents of school vouchers hoped the national political mood could make this the year that Tennessee would enact a law allowing students to use public money to go to private schools.
They were wrong. And now they’re mad.
Donald Trump won big in the state and picked Betsy DeVos as his education secretary, one of the country’s most vocal champions of school choice. But big city school districts and a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers beat back the latest attempts to enact voucher legislation this session.
Legislators couldn’t even enact a voucher pilot program limited to Shelby County, which includes Memphis.
The decision to put off the pilot program until at least next year incurred the wrath of the American Federation for Children, a school choice group DeVos once chaired. The group’s Tennessee political action committee has spent more than $1.5 million on direct mail, advertising and candidate contributions since 2012.