The Tennessee Federation for Children (TFC) is a state-based 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to support equal opportunity in education by empowering parents to choose the best education for their children. TFC is leading the movement to enact more educational choice options in Tennessee, in partnership with the national leaders of this effort, the American Federation for Children and Alliance for School Choice. We believe that educational choice is an important catalyst for the broader education reform movement because it breaks down barriers, empowers parents and puts direct pressure on public school bureaucracies.
TFC has been formed to advocate and lobby for passage of a high-quality, statewide educational choice bill.
Tennessee’s Current Education Crisis
Tennessee is consistent in its place near the bottom of some of the most important academic measures. The state ranks 47th nationally in elementary math scores and 42nd in the country in reading scores. At the middle school level, math scores have sunk to 46th in the nation. The state has among the lowest percentage of citizens who hold a high school diploma, and a series of education “reforms” in recent years have done little to raise achievement relative to other states.
Missing from the state’s recent reform efforts has been true educational choice for parents. More than 500,000 Tennessee children are eligible for the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program, demonstrating just how many families in the state likely cannot afford the same kind of educational choices available to wealthier Tennesseans. Parental choice has been a topic of discussion in the state for some time, yet until recently there was little movement on the issue. Now there is a growing coalition of lawmakers in the legislature who support comprehensive education reform that includes educational choice.
Tennessee Federation for Children’s Goals:
In order to expand educational opportunities and ensure that more children have educational choice, the Tennessee Federation for Children is working to:
- Create a scholarship program that will ensure all children the opportunity to be productive citizens in the future.
- Ensure strong and meaningful accountability provisions in all school choice programs so that more parents have access to high-quality educational options for their children.
- Promote the expansion of quality charter schools through the creation of a state-wide authorizer.
- Increase public school choice.
- U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
- U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/educ-attn.html