Bill would allow Tennessee public school students to take courses in other districts

A new bill in Tennessee would allow public school and charter school students to continue education at other school districts without uprooting them from their current schools. (Photo: MGN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- A new bill would allow Tennessee public school and public charter school students to take classes in other districts if their current schools do not have the same offerings.

Known as the "Course Access Program Act," HB 1897/SB 2497 is not to be confused with the school voucher bill currently in limbo with legislators. Whereas the school voucher bill aimed to give students and families the ability to choose any school they wish to attend, the Course Access bill allows students to attend specific classes if their current school does not offer the class.

The legislation was drafted by the Beacon Center of Tennessee and spokesman Mark Cunningham says they "feel fairly confident" the bill will pass when it hits the House and Senate floors. Cunningham says the bill allows students to stay at their current public school where they might be participating in sports and other programs, while still getting the opportunity to further their academic careers and take classes needed for their career path.

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For instance, if a student's school only offers French I & II but does not offer French III & IV, the student could use a voucher to attend another school in another district which offers French III & IV.

Students might not even have to leave the comforts of their own home. Cunningham says "the trend in other states across the country has been for students to take the courses online or at community colleges."

Cunningham says the Beacon Center hoped to have both the course access and school choice vouchers pass but getting one passed is better than none. The bill is sponsored by Senator Dolores Gresham and Representative Roger Kane of Knoxville.

Read the Full Bill Summary HERE

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