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TN Dept of Ed appears to be trying to eliminate competition

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The headline is an opinion, of course, but I can’t figure any other way to read this. On a page entitled HB1652-SB1827, TnHomeEd.com warns of upcoming action (3 p.m. today!) that could require teachers in church-related schools (and those homeschoolers covered by them as Category IV schools) to conform to Dept. of Education requirements.

This seems ludicrous. As someone who teaches college classes, I am quite aware that graduates of church-related schools and homeschools usually come to college much better prepared than graduates of state-run schools. There are plenty of exceptions, of course, but this is the trend. It’s impossible to make the case that bringing these schools under the oversight of the state more than they already are would somehow improve the education offered by these schools.

According to T.C.A. ยง49-50-801, schools in this category are exempt from regulation regarding faculty, textbooks, and curriculum. There is a good reason for that. Nevertheless, some rule (not a law, understand, but a bureaucratic rule) dating from 1992 is being interpreted by the Dept. of Education in such a way that it invalidates all the diplomas of graduates of church-related schools since then.

They seem to have set up this scenario so that they could “offer” an amendment to a bill to make diplomas from such schools valid. All they have to do is conform to Dept. of Ed. rules for credentials of state teachers, in effect. How self-serving.

As an example of the idiotic effect of this regulation: Rep. Mike Bell tells about a police officer in Rockwood who has now been removed from duty and his arrests in jeopardy because his 7 year old high school diploma from a Category IV school has now been characterized as ‘worthless’ despite the officer graduating from Walter State Community college and the Police Academy as well as having satisfactorily served as a police officer since January of 2008. One source I read indicated he carried a 4.0 through the Police Academy. Here is a man who has already completed a college education, who is in danger of having that real education invalidated because of a bogus bureaucratic disallowance of a piece of paper.

Rep. Bell has offered a competing (and much better) amendment that basically corrects the situation back to what was intended originally: the state should keeps its hands off church-related schools.

Action on this is slated for 3 p.m. Central time today. By the time most people read this, it will be too late. On the off chance that you see it in time, please follow the link above and contact committee members asking them to support Mike Bell’s amendment. This is about far more than homeschooling; it’s about more unnecessary government encroachment.

Written by Donnell

May 5th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

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