No confidence vote for Tennessee education commissioner

Updated: Sep. 22, 2020 at 10:28 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The House Education Committee is slated to meet this week and one Tennessee leader is speaking out about an education leader in the Volunteer State.

Tennessee House member Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) is urging the committee to take a no confidence vote questioning the position of Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn.

“I don’t know where to begin with respect to the reasons why out-of-state transplant Commissioner Schwinn should be replaced immediately. There are simply too many reasons to enumerate,” said Griffey.

He also calls Schwinn’s experience in education into question mentioning that she has “minimal amount of actual classroom teaching experience" based on documentation he has acquired.

Griffey noted parallels in Schwinn’s leadership in Texas and Tennessee as he compared “controversial” no-bid contracts that were passed in both states. Schwinn previously worked with the Texas Education Agency before taking the position in Tennessee.

“Indeed, here in Tennessee, Schwinn bypassed the legislature and a competitive bid process and awarded $2.5 Million (which exceeded the $750,000 budgeted by the legislature) in a no-bid contract to a Florida company known as ClassWallet to administer the financial aspects of the controversial ESA/school voucher program, which passed the House by only 1 vote and has since been struck down by our judicial system as unconstitutional,” explained Griffey.

He went on to say, “Schwinn effectively decided to rob teacher pay to finance an unauthorized and inexplicable unilateral action.”

The vote is set to happen at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Griffey’s full statement can be read below:

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