Top Republicans in the Tennessee legislature are meeting on Nov. 6 to discuss the possibility of turning down federal education assistance for the K-12 schools in their state.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) introduced a bill earlier this year to explore the idea of halting the acceptance of almost $1.8 billion of federal K-12 education dollars. The newly formed working group of 10 legislators could bring that idea closer to becoming a reality.
The committee will investigate the rules and criteria that accompany the federal cash, as well as determine whether or not the state has the ability to step in and close the budget shortfall on its own.
“Basically, we’ll be able to educate the kids how Tennessee sees fit,” said Mr. Sexton, according to The Associated Press. The legislative leader also pointed to the fact that rejecting the federal dollars would mean Tennessee would no longer have “federal government interference.”
To this day, no state has been able to successfully reject federal education payments. This is despite the fact that state and local officials have long complained about certain restrictions and testing that sometimes come attached to the money. In recent months, members of the Republican Party in other states, including Oklahoma and South Carolina, have discussed the concept as well.
At the federal level, numerous Republican lawmakers and candidates have been advocating for the complete abolition of the Department of Education in the United States of America.
Senate Minority Leader Raumesh Akbari, one of two Democrats on the panel, said during a local news report that she later posted to X, formerly Twitter, that while she was open to hearing what the Republicans on the panel had to say, she believed that rejecting federal funding would hurt the people of Tennessee.
“Regardless of if we accept the funds or not. We are still required to provide those services, so it is to me not the best move for Tennessee and certainly for our tax dollars,” Ms. Akbari said.