The newly elected Republican governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, wants vouchers, but he can expect pushback from the local media and local school boards that know of the frauds and scams in other states that have endorsed vouchers.

The Daily Memphian warns about the squandering of taxpayer dollars in other states.

Tennessee lawmakers say that if broader school choice options are offered, the Legislature would need to enact restrictions to avoid the kind of education savings account fraud seen in states where public-dollar vouchers are given to parents for homeschooling and private school enrollment.

Reports from across the nation show situations in which private-school officials and parents spent voucher money for items unrelated to education. Cards were used at beauty supply stores, sporting good shops and for computer tech support, in addition to trying to withdraw cash, which was not allowed.

“Absolutely, that’s one of my concerns,” said Rep. Mark White, a Memphis Republican who chairs the House Education Committee.

The Arizona Republic found many parents there put voucher funds into college-savings accounts then sent their children to public schools, among other fraudulent activity, all amid lax oversight. The Phoenix newspaper also reported the state investigated one case in which voucher funds were allegedly used to pay for an abortion after it adopted an Empowerment Scholarship Account program in 2011.

Arizona voters rejected a 2018 referendum to expand the education accounts to make all public-school students eligible.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in 2004 the principal of a private school used voucher payments to buy two Mercedes-Benz cars, then claimed they were a legitimate expense because he had invested his own money in the school.

The school board in Murfreesboro passed a unanimous resolution against vouchers that would divert public money away from public schools to religious schools and home schooling.

Lawmakers should oppose state money being used for private education, says a resolution approved Thursday by Rutherford County school officials.

The seven Board of Education members also signed the document in opposition to any state legislation allowing vouchers or education savings accounts for private education. The elected school officials represent a district serving 46,772 students from prekindergarten through 12th grade.

Parents and school boards should be aware that the opening bid for vouchers is to authorize one only for students with special needs. That is the camel’s nose under the tent. See what happened in Arizona and Florida, which began with that single group, then added another group, then another group, then another and another. Beware.