Media Contact

Sharon Krengel, ELC,, 973-624-1815, x24
Christopher Wood, Robbins Geller,, 615- 244-2203
Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN, 615-320-7142

August 5, 2022

Court to Hear Arguments Challenging Unconstitutional Voucher Program on September 19

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, in ongoing litigation challenging the state’s private school voucher law, a three-judge chancery court panel denied Shelby and Davidson county parents’ and community members’ request to block implementation of the state’s voucher program while their litigation continues. The plaintiffs in McEwen v. Lee, a pending 2020 lawsuit filed by Shelby and Davidson County residents, argue that Tennessee’s voucher law is an unconstitutional diversion of public funds to private schools. Private schools participating in the voucher program are not obligated to comply with the academic, accountability, and governance standards that apply to public schools. And unlike public schools, they can discriminate against students on the basis of religion, LGBTQ+ status, and other characteristics, as well as refuse to provide services such as special education for students with disabilities. The court will hear further argument challenging the voucher program on September 19.

The following can be attributed to Chris Wood, partner at Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, who argued for the McEwen plaintiffs:

“We are disappointed that the court declined to stop Tennessee’s rushed and illegal plan to issue vouchers for the school year that starts in just a few days. This chaotic rollout will only harm students and schools and waste taxpayer dollars on an unconstitutional voucher scheme. The chancery court will hear further argument in the case on September 19, and we are confident it will recognize the merits of our clients’ claims and the many ways this voucher program violates the essential guarantees of the state constitution.” More information about McEwen v. Lee is available here.


The Southern Poverty Law Center is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people. For more information, visit

Founded in 1973, Education Law Center is a national leader in advancing the rights of public school students to equal educational opportunity under state and federal law through litigation, policy, advocacy and research. For more information, visit   

The ACLU of Tennessee, the state affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, is a private, non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through advocacy, coalition-building, litigation, legislative lobbying, community mobilization and public education. For more information, visit

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP is one of the world’s leading complex litigation firms representing plaintiffs in securities fraud, antitrust, corporate mergers and acquisitions, consumer and insurance fraud, multi-district litigation, and whistleblower protection cases. With 200 lawyers in 9 offices, Robbins Geller has obtained many of the largest securities, antitrust, and consumer class action recoveries in history, recovering tens of billions of dollars for victims of fraud and corporate wrongdoing. Robbins Geller attorneys are consistently recognized by courts, professional organizations and the media as leading lawyers in their fields of practice. Visit