Subject Line: Please Veto SB3345/HB 3540!
Dear Governor Haslam:
I am writing to respectfully request that you veto SB3345 by Ketron/HB3540 by Matheny. As originally introduced, SB3345/HB3540 would prevent any noncitizen from being involved in a charter school; in its current form, the bill establishes arbitrary restrictions on the nationality and ethnicity of teachers, regardless of their qualifications or suitability for the subject matter. Even though the bill has been amended extensively, we are extremely concerned about the unintended consequences and possible federal Title VI & Title VII violations that could compromise our federal education funding.
This bill discourages diversity in our charter schools system by creating new regulatory burdens and limits their ability to recruit the most highly qualified teaching candidates and employing other foreign-born workers. As we continue to improve our educational system we need the most qualified professionals to help lead the way. While our state promotes and attracts foreign economic investment this bill sends the wrong message that our state is unwelcoming and intolerant. In these difficult economic times our state cannot afford to waste valuable resources on measures that try to address problems that do not exist.
As you may already know the legislation was drafted by the Tennessee Eagle Forum, as a continuation of their controversial anti-Muslim campaign from last year that would have equated shariah and the practice of Islam with terrorism. Campaigns such as this jeopardize Tennessee’s welcoming image and openness to vibrant diversity. As we move forward to a brighter future in our state, we cannot allow such divisive legislation to represent us.
Please VETO SB3345/HB3540.