Knox Federation of Teachers President Discusses School Vouchers

Dick Wagner

Much of the controversy occurring at the Statehouse since the recent legislative session began involves the Governor’s education reform initiatives. For the next three days, we’re going to look at the reform issues through the eyes of Dick Wagner, President of the Knox Federation of Teachers, which represents a majority of the teachers in the Knox School System.

Vouchers, tenure, and collective bargaining will be discussed with Mr. Wagner.

We have only recently heard a lot about vouchers. First, what is a voucher, and what does it allow a public school student and his or her family to do?

“A voucher is where a student can be allowed to go to a different private school and still take the state money that is supporting them, with them,” replied Dick Wagner. “This drains the money that would go to a public school had the student gone to that public school.”

A number of charter schools are opening around the state. When a charter school opens in a locale and a number of students decide to attend, what does it do to the public school?

“If the educational money pie is such a size and you take money away from that pie, a slice out for charter schools here and a slice out for vouchers there, there’s less pie left for the remaining public schools. That does concern me as a taxpayer and as a teacher in the Knox system.”

Mr. Wagner will talk about tenure tomorrow.