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The Tennessee Education Association will lose about 1,000 members because of a recent vote by its parent organization to support the October celebration of Lesbian and Gay History Month. Once conservative Christian groups in Tennessee learned of the NEA's vote two months ago, they quickly spread the news. But the TEA argues that its delegates to the national convention voted "almost unanimously" against the portion of the resolution that calls for classroom acknowledgment of the contributions gays, lesbians and bisexuals have had throughout history. "It's caused a lot of our continuing members some concern," TEA President Kathy Woodall said. "A lot of teachers have taken a lot of heat."
A newspaper reporter in Tennessee called the local NEA representative in response to the August '95 Education Reporter's expose of the 15 NEA resolutions pertaining to the gay and lesbian agenda. She replied: "That resolution was written with an educational purpose. Just like you have a purpose in teaching math, by the same token we have to teach children that not all people are the same."
Alabama Governor Fob James pledged $5 million in state funding toward a $15 million program to put the computerized Writing to Read program in about 400 elementary schools. James praised Writing to Read because it uses phonics to teach children the 42 different sounds in English. The education reform package passed by the Legislature this summer requires phonics to be used in schools. "Phonics is a highly debated issue, probably throughout the English-speaking world," James said. "We believe that if young people learn phonics they'll be better writers and readers."