Tennessee Education Savings Account: Tipping the Scales From Equity to Choice
Keywords:Education policy, equity, neoliberalism, school choice, education vouchers, school vouchers, private school
This article provides an analysis of Tennessee’s newly signed Education Savings Account policy, a school choice initiative. The policy provides vouchers, in the form of a debit card, to students in grades K-12 who are at or below 200% of the federal poverty line and are zoned to attend a Nashville, Shelby County, or Achievement School District school. Using the Policy Window Framework the author uncovers that the policy was created in a federal and state-level political convergence, which attempted to place equity at the forefront of the issue. However, using Levin's Comprehensive Education Privatization Framework, we can see that neoliberal ideals of choice and efficiency conquer equity in the finalized policy. The author predicts the outcomes of this new policy using this framework in tandem with 3 case studies: Louisiana Scholarship Program, DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, and Tennessee’s Individualized Education Accounts.