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Teacher's Union Finds Voucher Task-Force Deliberations "Disturbing"

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A task force appointed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has skipped over the question of whether to create a school voucher program. Instead, the panel's most spirited debate earlier this week was about how soon vouchers could begin to be offered in Tennessee.

Jerry Winters is a spokesman for the state’s largest teacher’s union, the Tennessee Teacher’s Association. He’s attended four of the task force meeting and says it’s clear the panel members have already made up their minds to recommend a voucher program.

“I think that’s a terrible mistake. It’s even more disturbing that the Commissioner of Education - who is heading up these discussions, who should be an advocate for public schools - is leading a move to take money away from public schools and send it to private schools.”

Winters notes that Tennessee already has several education reform experiments in progress, experiments the TEA doesn’t feel are going well. The union says additional changes would not be helpful.

The panel is scheduled to make its full recommendations to the governor in November.

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