Special Call for Legislative Action
As I’m writing this, we are involved in understanding what is going on in the Alabama legislature, regarding a couple of bills. I hesitate to write now, knowing that I may not know all the facts. But I’ll try.
Last November Ron & I had the opportunity to hear state school board of education members Stephanie Bell and Betty Peters. They talked about two issues: the attempt by the state superintendent of education to regulate non-public schools, and the issues related to the Common Core standards.
In speaking about what is going on in Alabama, they spoke of the need to address certain ambiguities in the Alabama legislative code so that non-public schools would be protected from the administrative regulations from which the Alabama Department of Education believes it has authority to exert regulatory power over non-public schools (which include private schools and church schools). They were emphatic that the time to do this is in this current legislative session.
Today, we have come to understand that HB 546 and SB420 were deliberately written to attempt to clarify the legal language in the current legislative code, to prevent the DOE from exerting power they do not have. If these bills are codified into law, the Alabama DOE cannot use administrative regulations to do things not allowed in the legislative code. Many groups have worked together to write these bills, including on-campus church schools, as well as homeschool church schools, private schools, and Catholic schools. These bills address transfer issues, admission into fire colleges and police academies, and would give our graduates a more level playing field when applying for admission into these institutions. It even addresses state overreach on church-run preschools.
The two main sources of worry in these bills seem to be the directory kept by the state board of education and the advisory committee.
I think the good things that are happening right now are the many groups in the state who are impacted by these bills are communicating more than we have in the past. These bills are designed to help a larger group of people than just homeschoolers.
The Senate bill was tabled in committee on March 5. The House bill comes up for discussion in committee the second week of March.
I will keep you apprised of what’s going on legislatively, as I hear. The important thing is that we continue to pray for favor from the Lord in protecting our freedom to homeschool here in Alabama. Pray for wisdom for the men and women who are writing and revising the bills, that they would be able to hear from the different groups and accommodate their various needs. Pray for the state Senators and state Representatives to have the discernment to understand the issues and vote wisely.
“Do not fear or be dismayed … for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (II Chronicles 20:15).