The below email was sent this evening from Lana Thornton of T.H.E.A. --- and there is GOOD NEWS to share .....
<< Hello Tennessee Homeschoolers,
HB 2795 and its amendment were both voted down (KILLED-DEAD) today in the Special Initiatives sub-committee, as Rep. Hardaway attempted to withdraw the bill.
Powerful testimony by Dr. Charles Walker, Director of Tennessee Association of Christian Schools, TACS, and Chairman of the Tennessee Advisory Council for Non-Public Schools, by Debbie Landers, Executive Director of Tennessee Association of Non-Public Academic Schools, TANAS, and a member of the Tennessee Advisory Council for Non-Public Schools and by Dee Black, HSLDA attorney for Tennessee nailed the coffin shut on this horrendous legislation.
Briefly Dr. Walker and Debbie Landers informed the sub-committee that the amendment to HB 2795 was unnecessary because an Advisory Council of Non-Public Schools has been is place since 1986. This nine member Council is appointed by the Department of Education to meet with and discuss issues of concern to non-public schools in Tennessee.
When asked if the homeschoolers had a place on this Council, Debbie Landers answered, "Yes", that she was that representative. TANAS schools umbrella homeschoolers and have done so since the homeschool law in TN passed in 1985. About 50 % of the TANAS schools are church-related schools which umbrella home educators.
After Dr. Walker's and Debbie Landers' testimonies, the sub-committee voted on the amendment and it failed to pass. So then the original bill, the horrendous testing bill was in play and was under consideration.
Dee Black's excellent prepared testimony informed the sub-committee that HB 2795 violated the exemption provision of homeschoolers to text-specific tests which passed with HSLDA's efforts as a part of No Child Left Behind. Dee informed the sub-committee that if HB 2795 passed, Tennessee would be liable to have Federal education funding curtailed.
He also told them that this bill could be considered unconstitutional based on the violation of our 1st Amendment right of religious freedom because these tests would mandate that homeschoolers would have to use public school curriculum and not religious-based materials for our instruction.
A GREAT VICTORY for which we give GOD our praise and thankfulness!! Thank you all for your calls, e-mails, and prayers.
A WORD OF CONCERN: Rep. Hardaway railed on the homeschoolers saying that he had received hateful calls and e-mails. Rep. Tommie Brown of Chattanooga also told of disrespectful letters coming to her home. When homeschoolers offend and anger TN lawmakers, it is harmful to everyone. As Christians, we are to respect our elected officials and should never be degrading to others. >>