This past couple of weeks we’ve seen two major pieces of education legislation pass through the education committee.
Last week it was the “Statewide Charter Authorization Board” which gives charter schools who don’t get local approval a way to appeal.
This week it was Lee’s “Education Savings Accounts” aka School Vouchers, which would allow public funds to be taken away and used at private schools.
Both are major steps forward in the Republican effort to privatize education, an effort we’ve seen in other states which we have yet to see positive results.
It has come to our attention that Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) was asked specifically about both of these issues in the one debate he had with Democrat A.J. Holmes during their race in 2018, and in both instances Cepicky said he believes vouchers and charters should be subject to “local control”:
Cepicky, a member of the Education committee, voted in favor of both bills, a clear departure from his campaign rhetoric.
The privatization effort nationwide is backed by the Koch Brothers, and it’s a big part of the reason Betsy Devos is where she is.
As a reminder, Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson was recently heard saying he backs vouchers “1000%” – as long as they don’t affect Williamson County, where he, Speaker Casada, and Governor Lee are all from.
Opponents of both bills are warning that they are opening the “floodgates” for vouchers and charters to make their way everywhere throughout Tennessee.
A look into Cepicky’s campaign finance disclosures reveals a few noteworthy contributions on this topic. Cepicky received $1000 from “Tennesseans for Putting Students First”, a pro-voucher group:
Another $2000 from the PAC of House Majority Leader William Lamberth, who co-sponsored the vouchers bill:
And then another $1000 from Lord Casada himself, who just demoted Rep. David Byrd one day after Byrd voted against Lee’s Voucher proposal:
That all seemed to outweigh the $500 he received from the teachers union PAC:
When reached for comment, Cepicky’s 2018 opponent AJ Holmes had this to say:
“While this is indeed infuriating, this could create a moment of unity among us all. Independents, Republicans, and Democrats alike can still agree on a few things. We can all agree Rep. Cepicky’s move makes him one of the worst kinds of politicians, as it’s the move of one who sold to the highest bidder… we need campaign finance reform.”
When even Rep. David Byrd has more of a backbone on an issue than you do, it might be time to rethink somethings.
If you have a problem with representatives saying one thing during their campaigns then doing another when they get into office, holler at Cepicky HERE.