TN May Reject $1.8B In Federal Aid For Poor Students

The Associated Press reports:

One of Tennessee’s most influential Republican lawmakers says the state should stop accepting the nearly $1.8 billion of federal K-12 education dollars that help provide support for low-income students, English learners and students with disabilities.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton told The Associated Press that he has introduced a bill to explore the idea during this year’s legislative session and has begun discussions with Gov. Bill Lee and other key GOP lawmakers.

“Basically, we’ll be able to educate the kids how Tennessee sees fit,” Sexton said, pointing that rejecting the money would mean that Tennessee would no longer have “federal government interference.”

And as was reported last week:

Tennessee’s recent decision to reject over $8 million in federal funds to combat HIV was motivated, at least in part, by right-wing provocateurs stoking anti-LGBTQ sentiment, according to four sources within the state Health Department.

The move by Republican Gov. Bill Lee will hamstring, if not cripple, efforts to combat one of the country’s most poorly controlled epidemics of the virus, HIV advocates said.

The announcement followed a political crisis in Tennessee that began in September when conservative media personalities, including Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro, launched attacks on Vanderbilt University Medical Center over its care of transgender minors, which they alleged was barbaric.

Rejecting federal education money, they believe, will free them from anti-discrimination oversight and allow further Christian indoctrination. Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton last appeared on JMG in March 2022 when he was subpoenaed in an FBI corruption probe.