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Xenophobic Bill in Tennessee Would Limit Foreign Teachers

Xenophobic Bill in Tennessee Would Limit Foreign Teachers


Written by Adam Peck

A conservative group in Tennessee is pushing the state legislature to pass a xenophobic bill that would place limits on the number of foreigners that the state’s charter schools can hire, in a thinly veiled attack on the Muslim community.

The Putting Tennessee First Act says that the state’s chartering authority may not approve schools where more than 3.5 percent of their staff is made up of immigrants, even if they are legal residents of the United States.

The Tennessean has more:

The Tennessee Eagle Forum, which drafted the bill, is affiliated with the Eagle Forum, a national organization that wants to reduce the number of visas available to foreign-born workers and opposes the use of textbooks that it sees as favorable to Islam.

The Eagle Forum is a national group run by anti-Equal Rights Amendment activist Phyllis Schlafly, who has called feminism the most “destructive force in our society today.” The state group has tried — and failed — to pass discriminatory laws in the past. Last year, they authored the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, which would have labeled some Muslims terrorists if they were found to be practicing Sharia Law in the state. The bill failed after civil rights groups loudly objected.

Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Bill Kentron is a sponsor of the bill, and he has thus far denied that religion played any part in his decision to support the bill. But another Republican, Sen. Jim Summerville, told the Tennessean that he believes the bill’s supporters are concerned with Islamist groups infiltrating charter schools.

Some of the most vocal opposition to the bill is coming from other Republicans in Tennessee. Sen. Stacey Campfield said that he has no problem with foreigners teaching in schools if they’re here legally. And others have said that the limitations on whom schools can hire will hurt students.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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1:20PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

respectfully, paul, i won't attempt to dispute your claim of the muslim faith being taught in public schools-if there are any in my state( i know there are none in my area) that are having religious instruction, then i am not aware of them. all references to faith as a basis for study is excluded from standard curriculum-about holidays,that is a diffucult one. i suppose that since a great number of people residing in the us are , or claim to be, a christian in some form or other, the traditional christian/protestant holidays are observed. the days off of course are open to all students and staff. it is a delicate balance to maintain seperation and equality at the same time. but just because a teacher has a personal belief does not mean that their partucular belief must be or even should be taught as a subject of academic study. i object to chritianity, which i observe, although i don't attend a church regularly as i used to because i find them restrictive to indivdual thought and exremely intolerant ,being taught in public schools.a muslim woman can cover head and muslims of either gender can find their own way to pray, as long as the prayer works into the mandatory school day and does not offend anyone at the school. ex: go outside or to your car-one must make adjustments when moving about in another culture. as for latinos, which i am to understand are majority catholic, i fail to see an extreme difference in basic belief, but again, feel that whatever faith based observanc

11:06AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Oh my god, really, Tennessee?! They should be passing a bill that mandates INCREASING the hiring of foreign-born workers! Then maybe there wouldn't be stupid people reacting like this, and thinking they could actually get away with publishing such a racist bill. What a joke.

8:53AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

If religion instruction is banned in schools.. shouldn't that apply to ALL religions.

There is an infiltration of pro-Islam in our schools, via educators who share personal beliefs with the students, as there is with every other religion, and other cultures.

I can see an issue that needs to be stopped before it goes too far. We are getting very lax with our instruction of American culture. A melting pot is no longer a melting pot... it is becoming groups of segregated beliefs. Foreigners as no longer encouraged to assimilate into society. they are give special exemptions for a variety of reasons, and of course the main groups are the Mexican Latinos and the Arab Islamists.

They don't want to assimilate, they want to enjoy their culture in a free space, which is fine, but not healthy for maintaining american values of compassion and freedom.

I don't care what teachers are hired, as long as they are qualified, pro-American and teach the required curriculum and not sharing their personal opinions regarding politics or religion. If prayer is banned, if God is excluded, if Christmas and every other religious connotation is removed, then that should apply equally to all religions.

Teachers are there to teach life-skills, not indoctrination into foreign cultures. Keep it that way!!!

9:50AM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

oh, i guess it wasn't me-oops!

9:48AM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

nancy: so sorry if my last comment contained language that was offensive-didn't realize my error-debra

9:50PM PDT on Mar 31, 2012

Please be mindful of the language used on this site Rin S. and all. I had a prof. who always said: "hatred is a fear of the unknown." This is so true. My conclusion: right wing thought bearers-Republicans and Tea Party members are paranoid schitzophrenics. How else do you explain xenophobia on the rise?

3:40AM PDT on Mar 31, 2012

What the actual fuck? These bigots can shove it up their ass. Ugh.

10:49PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

This should not be a big surprise, coming from the same state that sponsored the Scopes Monkey Trial. I live in TN. There are good people but there are way more ignorant ones.Everyday I am reminded of B Russell's words: "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. "

7:04PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

This makes about as much sense as Oklahoma's anti-Sharia-law legislation, when Sharia law never has, not once, been cited in a court in Oklahoma.

3:04PM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

@debra h, That's really weird about the road kill. My son went to college in Va. Tech and the hills people around there were always driving around collecting road kill.

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