In Louisiana last year, Christian right legislators were shocked — shocked! — to find out that if you give vouchers to parents to send their kids to private schools, money could go to Muslim schools too. Now their counterparts in Tennessee are trying to figure out how to avoid that.
A pair of proposals rapidly moving through the Tennessee General Assembly could potentially divert tax dollars currently allocated to public schools to Islamic private schools, and two Rutherford County senators are raising concerns about the legislation.
“This is an issue we must address,” state Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) said. “I don’t know whether we can simply amend the bill in such a way that will fix the issue at this point.”
State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Tracy each expressed their concerns Friday over Senate Bill 0196, commonly called the “School Voucher Bill” and sponsored by fellow Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville), which would give parents of children attending failing public schools a voucher with which to enroll in a private school.
State monies that would otherwise be spent on educating the student in public schools would then be diverted to qualifying private schools to pay private tuition for the student, in whole or in part.
Islamic schools throughout the state, including Nashville and Memphis where several of Tennessee’s lowest performing schools are located, would qualify to receive such students under the state-funded voucher program.
Notice that there was no complaint at all from these same legislators over diverting money to private Christian schools. They’re perfectly find with tax money going to support Christian schools. But Muslim schools? That’s an outrage! Who could possibly support such a thing? More importantly, how can they pass a law that prevents that from happening while ensuring the flow of funds to Christian schools? They can’t. And you know what prevents it? That damn constitution they claim so loudly to revere.