A school district superintendent is being criticized for his opposition to school choice efforts in Tennessee, which he shared in a video posted to district social media.
Jarrett Skorup, the vice president of communications at the Mackinac Center, said it was “wildly inappropriate for a public entity to use taxpayer dollars to promote a political message.”
The video of Germantown Municipal School District Superintendent Jason Manuel, titled “Empower Public Schools, Not Vouchers,” was posted on the school district’s X (formerly Twitter) account, as well as Facebook, TikTok and Instagram.
In the video, Manuel claims that school choice programs have “negative impacts on students” and “lack of accountability.” He also expressed concerns over public school regulations not applying to schools accepting education savings accounts (ESAs).
“Either these schools have to follow all the same laws as we do, or our legislators need to take all the restraints off of our schools,” he demanded.
This is not the first time the school district opposed school choice measures. In 2017, the Germantown Municipal School District leaders passed a resolution strongly opposing “any legislation or effort to establish a school voucher or opportunity scholarship program within the state of Tennessee.”
The opposition to school choice did not go unnoticed by school choice advocates on Twitter, who sharply criticized Manuel.
School choice advocate Corey DeAngelis wrote on X that the school district said “the quiet part out loud: they want to empower the system, not the student.”
“The money doesn’t belong to the government schools,” DeAngelis wrote. “Education funding is meant for educating children, not for protecting a particular institution. Fund students, not systems.”
“You can’t empower public school with the teachers union destroying public school,” parental rights advocate Nicole Solas also wrote.
“Another failing TN school superintendent, Jason Manuel, fighting @GovBillLee’s efforts to allow children a path out of Jason’s failing public schools,” the Deputy Director of Americans for Prosperity Tennessee, Michael Lofti, said on X. “Jason is responsible for
@gmsdk12 – here’s his record: 29% of students in grades 3-5, 45% of grades 6-8, & 50% of grades 9-12 FAIL to meet the most simple, basic requirements for ELA & Mathematics.”