Laws that will affect Tennessee public school classrooms highlighted the legislative session that ended on May first.
One of the most talked about is a proposal to revamps how education is taught in public schools (House Bill 3621). The bill would promote abstinence. But a more controversial section would discourage instructors from promoting any action that might lead to sex. It states that classroom instruction could not “…promote, implicitly or explicitly, any gateway sexual activity.”
Some teachers say the change would greatly alter what is currently taught in Tennessee schools by not allowing sex ed classes to cover practical matters like contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.
Another law places limits on charter schools in hiring foreigners. House Bill 3540/Senate Bill 3345 states that no more than 3-and-a-half percent of a charter school’s workers can be non-citizens. The schools also must report an employee’s connection to foreign governments.
A much discussed proposal that DID NOT pass would have cut lottery scholarships in half for some high school graduates, depending on lottery revenues. That bill was withdrawn by the sponsor, meaning lottery scholarship requirements in Tennessee are unchanged: students can receive a scholarship worth $4,000 for each of four years if they either earn a 3.0 grade point average in high school or score a 21 on the ACT entrance exam.
The bills on sex education and charter school hiring of foreigners are both now before Governor Bill Haslam, who must decide whether to veto or sign them in to law.