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After weeks of intense grassroots lobbying by energized homeschooling families, on March 19, 2008, the Special Initiatives Subcommittee of the Tennessee House Education Committee voted to kill a testing bill threatening home educators.
House Bill 2795 would have subjected non-public school students, including homeschool students, to additional state testing. It would have required them to take subject matter tests based upon state-approved textbooks. It would also have required them to pass the Tennessee comprehensive assessment program (TCAP) tests before receiving a high school diploma. These new testing requirements would also have applied to students being taught at home through extension or satellite programs of church-related schools.
In response to legislative alerts from the Tennessee Home Education Association and Home School Legal Defense Association, families of homeschool students placed an overwhelming number of phone calls and sent thousands of emails to key legislators voicing their opposition to the bill. At the hearing on the bill, the bill’s sponsor, Representative G.A. Hardaway, sought to amend the bill to delete the testing provisions and instead require the Tennessee Department of Education to annually assess non-public schools. But the subcommittee voted against permitting the proposed amendment and then voted to kill the bill. Because of homeschoolers’ vigilance and outspoken opposition to this bill, the freedom of parents to educate their own children is no longer threatened by this legislation.
Special thanks go to leaders in the Tennessee Home Education Association for their untiring efforts on behalf of the homeschool community to defeat this dangerous legislation.