Thursday, April 28, 2005

Pre-K passes House, Senate is next up.

The House passed the Governor's Pre-K program with all the Democrats voting yes and 21 Republicans voting no for a final vote total of 75 to 21.

Here's the link to the actual legislation SB2317 and the fiscal note...which ought to be a HUGE 'wait a minute' to legislators and local governments who'll also have to kick in money.

And I'm going to include a link to the Tennessee State Constitution which clearly says that

"The excess after such allocations from such net proceeds from the lottery would be appropriated to:
(1) Capital outlay projects for K-12 educational facilities; and
(2) Early learning programs and after school programs."
Have we fully funded all the 'best and brightest' that are qualified to go to college? No. Homeschoolers and non-accredited private schoolers were shutout in their attempt to qualify for Merit Scholarship money because, while their SAT/ACT scores were great, they didn't have a GPA that educrats and their legislative partners would accept.

And yesterday, according to the Jackson Sun, the House Higher Ed subcommittee expanded the pool of students that could apply for these scholarships to include "non-traditional' students over 25 years old who had a 2.75 GPA in their sophomore year in high school. This GPA is lower than current students must have. Additionally, legislators are looking at increasing the needs based supplement to $2,000. So as we read, the funds are yet to be fully utilized by people wanting/needing these scholarships. There is no excess yet.

And, as I read the Constitutional amendment in Article XI, Section 5 IF there is excess it next goes to capital outlay projects for K-12 educational facilities. Doesn't it make more sense for the state to leave 4 year olds with loving families and get their older siblings out of portables and into suitable spaces for learning? Apparently, not to legislators and educators. They want to provide services for those 40,000 or so 4 year olds despite the pressing needs of the students currently in their system.

Read details on the House vote from the Tennessean here. [Why the Tennesseans provides House legislative contact information after the vote and when its on its way to the Senate Finance Committee on 5/3/05 is beyond me. ] You can read the roll call of who is going to be responsible for this problem there also.

*Added 12:38 p.m. 4/28/05: Rep. Stacy Camfield (R-Knoxville) has a good bit to say on this subject. Check his blog. Scroll down.

And check for more details and comments.

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