McNally, Sexton Announce Task Force To Determine If Tennessee Can Refuse Federal Dollars For Education

Image Credit: Speaker Cameron Sexton / Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –

This week Speaker of The House for the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, Cameron Sexton, and Lt. Governor Randy McNally, announced the creation of a “task force” or “joint working group” to study what kind of impact the rejection of federal dollars might have on education in the state.

The task force aims to determine if the rejection of the federal funds will have a negative impact and if the state can afford to reject the 1.8 billion potential federal dollars it would otherwise accept.

The reason for rejecting the funds, according to Speaker Cameron Sexton, is that the federal dollars offered up for Tennessee’s education system comes with contingencies that many Tennesseans may find unacceptable. 


As an example, when the state was given money for and during the COVID pandemic, there were expectations that the state would impose COVID restrictions on students like mandatory masking and school shutdowns, all without the consent of Tennessee parents. 

This past session, House Bill 1249, sponsored by Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville-District 25) and Senate Bill 1507, sponsored by Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge-District 5) were both filed to create an 11-person panel that would be chaired by the state’s education commissioner, a role then filled by Penny Schwinn.

The task force would also include six legislators, two school superintendents, and two teachers, all appointed by Sexton and Lt. Governor Randy McNally.

McNally said, “The education of our youth is one of the essential responsibilities of our government. Federal dollars and the various mandates and restrictions that come with those dollars affect the way Tennessee’s children are educated. Due to our state’s excellent financial position, this is a worthy subject of examination and study.”

According to reports, the new task force would include the following individuals: 

• Rep. Debra Moody (R-Covington) and Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) will serve as co-chairs.

• House members include Rep. Ronnie Glynn (D-Clarksville), Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville), Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), and Rep. William Slater (R-Gallatin).

• Senate members include Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), Sen. Bill Powers (R-Clarksville), and Sen. Dawn White (R-Murfreesboro).

According to the legislation, “the task force shall develop a strategic action plan to guide the administration and general assembly on whether it is feasible for this state and the political subdivisions of this state to reject federal funding for educational programs or purposes.”

Critics of this plan convey a concern that this is a way for it to appear that Tennessee is taking an initiative to action on what would likely be a very popular move with most of the conservative constituency in Tennessee, without actually doing anything proactive that will sever the ties between the state and the federal government with regard to how Tennessee’s kids are educated.

2023 Annual Campaign

The question that many Tennesseans might be asking themselves is that with nearly 30% of our state budget reliant on federal money, (about 18.2 billion dollars according to Governor Lee’s budget) and the contingencies that are likely attached to all of those dollars, will the rejection of just 1.8 billion make any difference substantively?

The first meeting for the new task force has yet to be announced. The Tennessee Conservative will continue to follow this story as it develops. 

About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member.  Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at

12 thoughts on “McNally, Sexton Announce Task Force To Determine If Tennessee Can Refuse Federal Dollars For Education

  • September 26, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Telling the Federal government to take its money and the rules and regulations that go with it and stick them where the sun don’t shine is the key to increasing our freedoms. We generally run a state budget surplus anyway and that, together with eliminating sales tax holidays, new stadiums, etc. and presto! we’re free at last.

    • September 26, 2023 at 6:36 pm

      Exactly! Our children do not need more sex ed and other garbage that is attached to federal monies.
      Let’s just say “Thank you, but no thanks.”

  • September 26, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    Homeschools and Cat. III and IV private schools operate with no federal interference or funding. Usually at a fraction of the cost of public schools.

    The federal incentives are perverse for public schools. In order to get more funding, you need more poor (economically disadvantaged), non-white, or special education students (which can include medicated, but not special needs). If you have enough poor, you can get more money as a Title 1 classroom. If you have even more poor, then you can get more funding for being a Title 1 school. Then come all the administrative strings attached to Uncle Sugar’s cash. Pigeon-holing of students by race and household income, mandatory, proprietary software, online testing, administrators, reporting, teaching in non-native languages for the illegals, teaching to the test with depopulator Bill Gates’ standards – all mandatory. Of course, if this education welfare system worked as intended, our society would educate its way out of poverty – and has had 100 years of trying. But it is “free”, costs the users nothing if they are not property owners and amounts to a “free” glass of water at a restaurant – it isn’t worth much to them.

    Education of the people is not an enumerated power of the federal government in the U.S. Constitution. The DOE is an illegitimate department created with the help of Newt Gingrich and Jimmy Carter. It is a HUGE money source. The public system has no experience making their own decisions, they are used to taking all the orders from Uncle Sugar. There will be huge position eliminations as the federal shackles are cut. I don’t think the same general assembly that lied about Common Core “state” Standards, then rebranded as “Tennessee State Standards” and can’t keep separate bathrooms for males and females can overcome their normalcy bias to truly change the system – but I hope I am wrong.

    It should work out as a great fundraising grift in any case, just like the special session.

  • September 26, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    Yes. Cut the cord to the federal government in all ways possible when it comes to our children’s education. The federal government should never ever have gotten involved with education to start with. It is altogether a state and local issue and the feds have made an absolute mess of education. Most public schools systems in this country are garbage and are a major reason why our country is on such a deep decline. You can only have a virtuous and good society if it is made up of virtuous and good people. Most government schools are no longer in the business of even trying to produce virtuous and good students, let alone providing a decent education for children. What they are in the business of producing is future communists who can’t distinguish male from female! What a joke and a disaster education has become in our country.

  • September 26, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    This is quite curious considering they are pushing for Medicare expansion in TN under the guise of increased mental health care for the “epidemic of gun violence”…. What is this really about considering these two clowns couldn’t give two flips about the people of TN?

    • October 1, 2023 at 2:14 am

      McNally swan song, hopefully.
      Sexton’s campaign platform for governor, no vote from me.
      IF any state could successfully exit from Washington over reach, it would create explosive growth with ppl moving here from most states and many other countries.
      The only hitch I keep bumping into is WashDC revenge.
      This advisory committee needs to do one thing, work with us house of representatives and the senate. They are going to have to lay the ground work excepting a state from legislative abuse from the back stabbing marxist and statist. Like Anaconda Mitch and Sleezey Shumer
      They will attack our freedoms and plan obstacles.
      *personally I do not believe there are enough straight backed politicians in Nashville.
      *the simple idea will be used in campaign speeches for years.

  • September 26, 2023 at 5:23 pm

    School administrators are like politicians when it comes to money….once they get a taste they can’t let go. Public schools spend a lot of money to produce an inferior product. There are plenty of good options outside of public education.
    Create a voucher system and let the money follow the student. Public schools would be forced to compete and trim budgets. The amount spent on school administrators would drop and schools would get back to teaching the courses students need to succeed.

  • September 26, 2023 at 6:59 pm

    These two evil stepbrothers can’t be trusted. This is nothing more than another “political” grandstand to try and make the sleepy sheep think they have come to Jesus and repented. I’m not buying it. When the deep state rolls out their next “plandemic”, we will see how quickly these folks capitulate to Obama’s coming “Emergency Authorization Orders”. Lee will have to really show us something if he wants the People to even consider starting to believe anything he says….I don’t see it happening

  • September 26, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    Be careful what you wish for. Unless and until the Federal Government eliminates the Federal Department of Education the taxes collected by the feds will be used to control education and everything else we are abdicating to them. Home rule is the golden rule, however it cannot be accomplished if we simply trade one tyrant for another. I appreciate the sentiment but the State regulation of education is equally as bad if not worse than the feds. The administration of education required by “Statute” accounts for the majority of expense and has nothing to do with teaching our children. More state government is not better than less federal government, just more expensive.

  • September 27, 2023 at 2:25 am

    The first few paragraphs gave me hope that they’re actually talking about the strings attached to accepting federal loan shark money, then it quickly went dwn hill once I realized zero parents/voters were part of this “think tank”. So voters/taxpayers are supposed to take the word of our state government about the federal government hahahahahahaha. I’m pretty sure people have learned how this plays out especially with all that we’ve been subjected to these past few years. The uniparty creates a think tank paid by working class, nothing comes of it that benefits working class, uniparty accepts Satan’s money, working class just got raped to pay for think tank asshattery.

  • September 27, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    Give the Fed, Government a inch and they will take a mile, I would rather do with less and get them out of our school system.


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