Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
In a zoom call hosted by Tennessee Home Educators Association (THEA) and Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) on Monday night, Tennessee homeschooling parents reported that lawmakers are overwhelmed by the response from the homeschool community over a bill that sought to modify state homeschool law.
HSLDA Tennessee attorney Kevin Boden spoke to bill sponsor Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville-District 25) on Monday afternoon and reported that there had been some “significant developments and updates” regarding HB1214.
During the zoom call with homeschoolers across the state, Boden said that Representative Jody Barrett (R-Dickson-District 69) – who he called a “friend to homeschooling” – facilitated a meeting between Boden, Barrett and Sexton, and Boden later reviewed a copy of a new amendment from Sexton which should amend the bill when it is heard again in the House Education Administration Committee and the Senate Education Committee.
On Monday night, Boden did not share the actual amendment with anyone on the zoom call, but described its content with those participating.
The new amendment is now waiting in the wings for today’s Committee meetings and takes all mention of homeschooling, hybrid charter schools, and Tennessee homeschool statute out of the bill.
According to state homeschool code, a homeschool is defined as “a school conducted or directed by a parent, parents, or legal guardians for their own children.” State law defining public charter schools says that public charter schools are part of the state program of public education.
“These two do not belong together,” said Boden. “They’re two different legal entities.”
THEA President Claiborne Thornton said, “As I understood the bill, it would [have added] a new type of school and the primary concern that I had… was it’s not homeschooling.”
According to Boden, Sexton’s goal was “not to mess with the homeschoolers” but to provide another option for homeschooling families in rural Tennessee who “needed assistance.”
“I think the original drafting of the bill was misdirected,” Boden said. “And the mechanism they were using to achieve their objective was misguided.”
Many of the state’s homeschooling families still plan to be in attendance at the Tennessee Capitol today to meet with lawmakers, and attend the Committee meetings.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.