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Tennessee Ranks Dead Last in Student Funding

March 4, 2009

Nashville, TN – You get what you pay for, in education and elsewhere in life. Tennessee is ranked number 50 in the country in spending per student, according to the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, and its students consistently rank near the bottom in reading and math tests. The Tennessee Education Association is convinced those two facts are related.

Jerry Winters, Director of Government Relations for the TEA, says the state legislature needs to look long and hard at education spending.

"Funding is a huge issue. We're at the bottom in almost every ranking on school funding, and we've got a long way to go."

Tennessee's former U.S. Senator Bill Frist is launching a project called the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE. That just-announced effort, to begin this fall, is aimed at significant improvement in Tennessee's education standards, and Jerry Winters says the TEA applauds the project and wants parents to take notice.

"One area that we have a keen interest in as teachers is to bring more parental involvement into public schools, and we think Senator Frist's initiative should go a long way in helping in this effort."

Opponents of increasing spending say most education funding comes from property taxes and they are against raising any taxes, especially during a recession.

Dan Gordon, Public News Service - TN