Newsletter #17 – Tennessee Board of Education Abdicates?

Note: It was inadvertently omitted from the prior newsletter that during her freshman year at Vanderbilt University, U.S. born Ms. Samar Ali co-founded the Middle Eastern Students Association.

Not only has Governor Haslam’s administration given preferential treatment to Muslims in Tennessee, but so has the Tennessee Board of Education.

As documented previously, Governor Haslam is working proactively to elevate the political status of Muslims in Tennessee – approving the partnership between the Tennessee American Muslim Advisory Council (AMAC) and the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security followed by the appointment of a Shariah Compliant Finance specialist as the International Director for the Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commission (ECD).

Governor Haslam seems to be sending Tennessee a clear message.  (Throw in his veto of the bill that would have protected the religious freedom of Christian organizations on college campuses and the message becomes yet more questionable).

Now the Governor’s office is considering advancing a school voucher system in Tennessee that would allow public education funds to be used for private school tuition.  Other states have allowed vouchers to pay tuition at state accredited religious schools.  It is not clear where Tennessee will come out on this issue.

Most states that have established voucher systems compile a list of state accredited private schools (including state accredited religious schools), at which voucher dollars may be used.

Private religious schools in Tennessee, known as “Church related schools”, are established pursuant to the provisions of 49-50-801 in the Tennessee Code.

Unlike Tennessee Christian schools, Islamic religious schools in Tennessee have not had to meet the requirements of the state law.  More on this in the next post.