Tennessee’s jihad against homeschoolers

The State of Tennessee’s jihad against homeschoolers continues.

It began in late 2007 and continued into 2008. An employee of the Department of Education, nominally in charge of the office of non-public schooling was criss-crossing the state making a presentation in which she declared that the diplomas issued by Tennessee’s church-related, category IV schools “were not worth the paper they were printed on.

As a result of her presentations, other agencies and departments of the state began to reject diplomas issued to homeschoolers when a high school diploma was required by law for certain regulated categories of employment. At first it was the Tennessee Police Officer’s Standards and Training Board (POST) which refused to allow a homeschooled high school graduate to continue serving as a sheriff’s deputy, even though he had completed the police academy taught by Walter State Community College and already been hired by the sheriff’s department.

Then the Department of Children’s Services refused to allow a homeschooled high school graduate to continue to work in a daycare as a caregiver, because the law stipulated that a caregiver must hold a high school diploma recognized by the state of Tennessee.

Now comes word that just this past week the Tennessee Board of Cosmetology has refused to permit the licensing of a young women because her high school diploma is from a church-related category IV school.

Once again, it bears repeating: The State of Tennessee recognizes these diplomas for the awarding of HOPE lottery scholarships. The University of Tennessee and all of its campuses recognize these diplomas for purposes of admission to college. The state community college system recognizes these diplomas for the purpose of admission to a community college. Vanderbilt, Sewanee, Rhodes, King, Belmont, David Lipscomb, & Lee University all recognize these diplomas for admission to their college degree programs.

It is only the few state boards where the Department of Education has some influence that have rejected them. Homeschooled kids are smart enough to enlist in any branch of the armed services, attend any public or private university – but according to the state of Tennessee they are not qualified to work in a daycare, serve as a police officer, or dye someone’s hair.

Folks, this is outrageous. This is the petty tyranny of a unionized bureaucracy. The educrats cannot stand the fact that a few courageous families have said “no thank you” to the government-monopoly factory-model one-size-fits-all public school system. Perhaps they have been emboldened by the Obama administrations shut-down of the Washington DC voucher system. Who knows?

The Tennessee Legislature has the opportunity to correct this bureacratic jihad against homeschoolers. They can over-rule the Department of Education and restore some sanity to the state’s policy on education.

The Tennessee State Senate is scheduled to hear SB0433 this coming Monday, May 4th. Here’s the official summary of what that bill does:

“Schools, Home – As introduced, requires that diplomas issued by home schools be recognized by all state and local governmental entities as having the same rights and privileges of diplomas issued by public school systems. – Amends TCA Title 1, Chapter 3.”

Tennesseans, call your senators and urge them to vote for SB0433.

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