Stop Xenophobic and Anti-Muslim Education Plan in Tennessee

Target: Sen. Ron Ramsey, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the Senate

Goal: Oppose a bill that would limit the number of legal immigrants that charter schools can hire.

Tennessee conservatives who are concerned about the influence of Islam in U.S. schools have introduced a bill that would limit how many legal immigrants charter schools can hire. The Putting Tennessee First Act has drawn a lot of opposition for being xenophobic and discriminatory to immigrants.

Although the bill makes no formal mention of religion, the Tennessee Eagle Forum, the group that drafted the bill, is affiliated with the national Eagle Forum that opposes using school textbooks they perceive as favorable to Islam. The Eagle Forum also works to reduce the number of visas granted to foreign-born workers.

Supporters of the measure are denying that religion has any part in the bill’s creation, but this is not the first discriminatory law the state group has tried to pass. Just last year, the group introduced a bill that would have had some Muslims practicing Sharia Law labeled as terrorists.

Specifically, the Act says that chartering authorities may not approve schools where legal immigrants with visa work permits make up more than 3.5 percent of the staff. It would also revoke schools’ charters if they exceed this cap. Many charter schools have expressed their opposition and worry that this will prevent them from hiring the best instructors for their schools. Immigrant groups in opposition have stated they fear the measure could lessen the participation of immigrant students and communities in charter schools.

The Putting Tennessee First Act embodies the xenophobia and Islamophobia that is still prevalent in the United States. Potential instructors should not be disqualified because of their religion or birthplace. Imposing discriminatory legislation on schools will only hurt students and limit the opportunities of talented foreign-born workers who are here legally.  Sign below to urge the Tennessee Senate to reject this unconstitutional and problematic bill.


Dear Sen. Ron Ramsey,

The Putting Tennessee First Act that aims to cap the number of legal immigrants hired by charter schools is xenophobic and unconstitutional. This bill would essentially legalize discrimination and prohibit schools from hiring the best instructors.

The group that authored this bill has been affiliated with Islamophobic legislation in the past, and this bill seems to be a continuation of those efforts. It is important that we promote diversity and acceptance in our education system, not fear and discrimination. This bill could limit the involvement of immigrant communities in charter schools and would only end up hurting our students. Please vote against this harmful and xenophobic legislation.

[Your Name Here]

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