Does state law require public schools to be "open to all"?


Does state law mandate "equality of educational opportunity"?

Yes—TN Small
School Systems v.
McWherter (1993)

Do the courts recognize education as a fundamental right?


State Constitution

Art. 11 § 12.The state of Tennessee recognizes the inherent value of education and encourages its support. The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance, support and eligibility standards of a system of free public schools. The General Assembly may establish and support such post-secondary educational institutions, including public institutions of higher learning, as it determines.


In Tennessee, attendance zones could be vulnerable to a challenge based on the TN Supreme Court’s ruling that the state constitution requires a school system that “affords substantially equal educational opportunities to all students.”

Open Enrollment

Voluntary for districts.Tenn. Code § 49-6-3104(e):“Each local board of education may permit adult students or the parents or guardian of a minor student to choose the school the student is to attend. If the choice is for a school other than the one to which the student is normally zoned, the student may be required to provide personal transportation.”

Voluntary for districts. Transfers do not appear to require permission from the resident district. Tenn. Code § 49-6-3104(a).

State Law Establishing Attendance Zones

Tenn.Code § 49-6-3103:“In determining the particular public school to which pupils shall be assigned, the board of education may consider and base its decision on … the geographical location of the place of residence of the pupil as related to the various schools of the system.”

State Law Criminalizing Use Of Incorrect Address

None found.

Charter School Admissions

No charter school law.