By Elaine Davis
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Well if that’s true then Knox County should be proud. Open Enrollment is already available in the Knox County School system whereby a student based upon availability can transfer intra-district to another school. For example if a student wanted to attend Karns High for one of its tech programs and if there was an open spot, that student could apply to be transferred from their current zoned school. With an emphasis now being placed on CTE, this offers students more opportunities to be successful once they graduate.
In the full House Education Committee meeting, legislators weighed the pros and cons on HB 1993. They voted to move the bill out of committee however District 13 Rep Gloria Johnson from Knoxville voted no.
Americans for Prosperity Tennessee State Director Tori Venable testified before the committee as a parent to express her desire that her children would have benefited from this option. Ms. Venable supports what Knox County is doing and is lobbying to see it replicated across the state. She stated further that Local Education Agencies will have the ability to invest in programs that are more popular and successful with students such as Dual Enrollment and conversely for those schools and programs that are not, LEA’s can evaluate more closely to make changes for improvement.
AFP’s website states:
“We want our children to have the best education possible. Access to educational options that are tailored around children’s unique needs sets them up for a bright future.
“Unfortunately, K-12 education often looks like a zero sum game, locking children out of a quality education based on the arbitrary criteria of ZIP code and income.
“SB 2343 / HB 1993 would create a better open enrollment process by requiring Local Education Agencies (LEA) to post the number of spaces available for enrollment in each school by grade, class, and program level on the LEA’s website at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the open enrollment period. Furthermore, these bills would require LEAs to conduct an open enrollment period of at least 30 days.
“This gives families a better opportunity to give their children access to educational environments that are better suited to unlock the unique potential of their children.”