Main menu


Bill is trying to direct money to Tennessee's Pre-Kindergarten program, but lawmakers are questioning its effectiveness.Tennessee

featured image

(Center Square) – A bill that redirects some of the taxes collected from sports betting in Tennessee to fund the state’s voluntary Pre-Kindergarten education program is after its ancillary bill has passed the House Commission. , Slightly passed the Senate Committee this week.

Senate Bill 2179 When House building 2201 Fixed to direct half of the money sent to the Tennessee Promise Fund to the Prekindergarten program. Housing sponsor Rebecca Alexander, R-Jonesborough, said Tennessee’s promises are consistently expected to be in the black at $ 15 million annually.

Tennessee Promise is a scholarship program for high school graduates seeking an associate degree. This is the last $ 1 scholarship to cover costs after other scholarships have been considered at the community college, or to an average $ 4,000 community college tuition for an associate degree program in a four-year school. Provide funding.

Instead of going to Tennessee Promise, the bill will send an estimated $ 16 million or more to the state’s Pre-Kindergarten program each year.

“We really need a pre-kindergarten throughout the state,” said Alexander. “Currently, there is a pre-kindergarten at Kingsport City School, doing great things to help kids learn and get going.”

There wasn’t much opposition to the House K-12 Subcommittee, but some members of the Senate Board of Education opposed the bill based on a long-term investigation conducted in the Tennessee pre-K program. did.

series the study Results conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College showed that the results of the program were unclear. In some cases, students with similar attributes performed worse on the sixth grade test than students who did not participate in pre-K programs.

“Disciplinary action, attendance at special education services, and receipt of special education services were also adversely affected, with no impact on retention,” the study said.

Lead author Dale Farang Talked to Chalkbeat Tennessee The results should be part of a conversation about the future of the program after the study was published and stated that the state’s Pre-Kindergarten program has changed since the student’s participation in 2009-10.

“Some people are pushing for pre-kindergarten lower grades,” Farang told Chalkbeat. “Our data show that it is unlikely to bring good results to children.”

Three Senators – Senator Mike Bell, R-Riceville. Senator John Lundberg, R-Bristol; Senator Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald-Wanderbilt, citing a study, voted against the Commission’s bill.

“How many more studies do we need to show, questioning the effectiveness of the state’s voluntary pre-kindergarten program?” Bell asked. “… This is not a conservative anti-pre-kindergarten group doing these studies.

“This is the third or fourth report since the report was launched in 2010-11, and it was the worst of the reports.”

In a house discussion, R-Culleoka Rep. Scott Cepicky said it was not clear whether education in grades 1 to 3 was a problem that would lead to negative results in grade 6, and how many of the findings I pointed out the problem. He also said it was not clear if Prekinder became more important due to learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to get conflicting information about Pre-kindergarten,” Cepicky said. “I wish I could do a survey of recent student numbers over the last few years to get an accurate picture of how COVID is having a negative impact on children in Tennessee.”

Sponsored by Senator Ferrell Haile (R-Gallatin), this funding for the Pre-Kindergarten program Newly proposed public school financing method It will pass the legislature in the coming weeks.

“It’s intellectually difficult for me to find out because (the data) sounds wrong and all the logic says this should work very well,” Lundberg said. “But the data also needs to be considered. And the data shows that it’s not working. And, in fact, especially in the minority population, we see regressions, and it’s very I’m worried … it’s really a policy, not a dollar. “

Tennessee collects 20% of the net operator income of sports betting in taxes. Of the sports gambling tax, 80% of the tax collected will be used for education, 15% for the state to distribute to local governments and 5% for mental health programs.

The bill then goes to the House Education Administration and Senate Finance, Methods and Means Committee.