Immigrant Rights Group Decries Charter Schools Restrictions

News release from Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:
Nashville – SB3345, the “Eliminating Diversity in Charter Schools” bill, passed the Senate Education Committee this afternoon on a voice vote. The legislation was drafted by the Tennessee Eagle Forum, as a continuation of their controversial, anti-Muslim campaign from last year. As originally introduced, SB3345 would prevent any noncitizen from serving on the board of 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.
SB3345 and its House counterpart are being sponsored by Senator Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Representative Matheny (R-Tullahoma), the same sponsors as the Eagle Forum’s 2011 bill that would have equated sharia and the practice of Islam with terrorism.
The following is a statement from Sabina Mohyuddin, a Muslim community leader in Tullahoma, and board member of the American Muslim Advisory Council:
“We understand the intention behind this bill and it is unfortunate that our elected officials are playing the same game as last year trying to marginalize Tennessee Muslims. No lawmaker should support legislation that prevents immigrants from fully engaging in their children’s education. This bill was designed to exclude immigrant parents and teachers from participating in charter schools, frustrating efforts to tailor our kids’ education to meet the needs of our communities.
“Today’s vote reflects not only a radical new effort to regulate the charter school system, but also the ability of a handful of legislators and lobbyists to derail the legislative agenda with mean-spirited, anti-immigrant proposals. This is an anti-Muslim bill shrouded in anti-immigrant language, and represents the latest effort of a radical, special interest group to make Tennessee unwelcoming to people from other countries.”

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