By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Friday, Alabama State Senator Dick Brewbaker (R) from Montgomery sent a letter to his fellow legislators asking for them to support his efforts to prevent Alabama State School Superintendent Tommy Bice’s efforts to regulate private and home schools in the state.
The Alabama Political Reporter, obtained a copy of the letter that Superintendent Bice sent to every private school demanding their attendance at meetings that were held on July 11th and 12th.
According to information provided by Sen. Brewbaker’s office, officials with the State Department of Education told the gathered school head masters and principals that they would have to consent to this takeover and accept the state department of education’s new found claim of licensing authority. Failure to comply with Bice’s orders and accept state regulation would result in none of their graduates being admitted to any of Alabama’s state two year or four year college. This would also apply to parents who homeschool their children.
Since that controversial meeting Governor Bentley has forced Bice to suspend his plans. In a written statement reported first by The Alabama Political Reporter; the embattled state superintendent said, “Based on feedback regarding the State Department’s proposed revisions to the current Rules and Regulations for Private Schools and Church Schools, currently posted for review and comment on the State Department of Education web site, I met this week with Governor Bentley in his role as President of the State Board of Education. We discussed concerns and feedback I had assimilated to date. Also, Governor Bentley shared with me his concerns that these regulations could place an undue burden on private schools and church schools. As a result of our discussion, we have decided it is best to place the regulatory revisions on hold.”
Senator Brewbaker wrote, “The state has never attempted to regulate non-public schools and home schools and we don’t need to start now. I am writing legislation to put a permanent stop to this foolishness. I would appreciate your support.”
Superintendent Bice claims that the State Department has had these kinds of powers for years, but he is the first state superintendent who has ever voiced any intention of using limited state resources to regulate private education. Bice failed to mention his plans to use state education department employees to regulate and inspect private and church schools or his plans to charge those schools a $300 per school fee when he was making his fiscal year 2014 budget request from the state legislature.