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The Scoop - Are our schools sacrificial lambs?
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The term "sacrificial lamb" goes back to biblical times in reference to killing an animal, or person, for what was considered the common good of society.

The term comes to mind when I think of the three Democratic candidates who are facing off in the Democratic Primary for the right to go against Bill Lee in the race for Tennessee governor in November. The Democrat who emerges from the primary earns the right to get trampled by Lee. What fun!

Polls across the state typically close at 7 p.m. and, if my guess is correct, media outlets will begin declaring Lee the winner at about 7:01 p.m.

A shorter way of saying all this is Bill Lee is going to be our governor for four more years. What's not known is what Tennessee public education will look like after his second term is done.

My perception of Gov. Lee is he does not like our public schools. This perception may not be accurate, but that's the vibe he puts out on a consistent basis. 

When Lee announced he was retooling the funding formula for public schools so there could be a specific dollar amount assigned to each student, it was like a bad magic trick. Everyone knew what was behind the curtain.

So there was no surprise on Thursday when stories began breaking that Gov. Lee had accelerated his timetable and he wants to begin implementing his school voucher system this school year. Yes, the school year that begins in a matter of weeks.

I often find myself at odds with state lawmakers on many topics. This isn't to say I'm right and they're wrong, but we certainly have different priorities.

On the subject of public schools, I don't see how ripping money away from our schools is a way to make them stronger. It seems like we're creating a guessing game where school administrators have to figure out who's staying and who is taking their $7,000 and leaving.

It seems like this will create a mess. If nothing else, it seems like it would take years of planning to develop a system where this type of scheme works effectively.

But that careful planning has been tossed out the window because the governor wants to implement this take-the-money-and-run funding formula immediately. I think he's been spending too much time with that guy from Michigan who thinks teachers are dumb and who wants to line his own pockets with our tax dollars.

In a healthy two-party political system, a strong Democrat could knock Gov. Lee off his perch for weakening our public schools and being pals with a guy who doesn't like teachers. But in a state that is only going to vote Republican, Lee has the power to do whatever he wants.

I'm afraid the Democratic opponent who faces Bill Lee for governor in November won't be the only sacrificial lamb before this is all over. Our schools look like they're next.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.