Upset about FPEA going Judeo-Christian ...UPDATE IN POST #73 - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Learning at Home and Beyond > Upset about FPEA going Judeo-Christian ...UPDATE IN POST #73
justwanttoteach's Avatar justwanttoteach 11:39 AM 02-11-2008
The letter from retired FPEA board members and officers asking FPEA members not to vote for the currently proposed changes to the FPEA bylaws and mission statement now been signed by Dr. Larry Walker. Dr. Walker was one of the founders of the FPEA and was instrumental in forming the organization's original bylaws. Also, the name of another retired board member, Peggy Starnes, is also now appearing on the letter.

RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 03:37 PM 02-11-2008
What a fiasco for the FPEA this has been and for all of the FPEA's members. Hopefully, at least, the "no" votes will come in in droves.

Thank you for the update, JWTT.
legaleagle's Avatar legaleagle 09:53 PM 02-11-2008
There are no checks and balances in place as to how the votes are being handled. Considering how this matter has been manipulated so far it will be interesting to see what is made public in the event the proposed changes are not passed.
vipassana's Avatar vipassana 10:05 PM 02-11-2008
I consider "Judeo-Christian Principles" a political term used to divide the voting population. The term is working very well on a National level to do just that. I wrote the following letter and today received another packet of information from FPEA. It would seem by the comments included they no longer want me as a member. If this proposed change is an example of how they practice Judeo-Christian principles, I want no part of it. I prefer organizations who practice truth and honesty without the smoke and mirrors.

Sent on 2/6 to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]

Raised in Washington, DC - I have friends of every possible faith. We are a multi-denominational family and pride ourselves in teaching tolerance. I happened to read the proposed changes to the Florida Parent-Educators Association bylaws and articles of incorporation after being alerted to them by other FPEA members. While I appreciate my Christian friends and family and celebrate their faith with them, it was never my intention to financially support a secular homeschool organization.

I feel compelled to comment on the way in which this has been presented. I have always been under the impression FPEA is an “all-inclusive homeschool family association.” The addition of “Judeo-Christian” principles is a significant departure from the FPEA mission statement. Particularly disturbing is the Thirteenth article which states any disputes “be settled by mandatory, binding arbitration administered by Peacemaker Ministries.” According to their website they are “equipping and assisting Christians and their churches to respond to conflict Biblically.” It would seem this would have a significant impact on FPEAs’ 501(c) status with the IRS.

I attended my first FPEA convention several years ago. I signed up for only those lectures not designated as “Faith-Based.” Despite that fact - I walked out of two lectures where I felt verbally abused for not being a Christian as defined by the guest speaker. I was not alone. Several families walked out with me and we participated in a much more interesting dialog amongst ourselves in the hallways. We questioned at the time what type of organization we had joined and after reading the literature provided assumed the FPEA had not screened their speakers well enough. I have not attended an FPEA convention since.

The changes are not clearly defined in the materials sent to the members. The opening letter from Mr. Weaver suggests they are routine changes to bring the organization in line with government regulations. They are not. I can’t help but feel I’ve been sold “snake oil.” I am voting NO to the proposed changes. Should these changes be approved I will be resigning my membership in FPEA and any organizations associated with it.
RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 04:06 PM 02-15-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by vipassana View Post
The changes are not clearly defined in the materials sent to the members. The opening letter from Mr. Weaver suggests they are routine changes to bring the organization in line with government regulations. They are not. I can’t help but feel I’ve been sold “snake oil.” I am voting NO to the proposed changes. Should these changes be approved I will be resigning my membership in FPEA and any organizations associated with it.
Yup, I definitely feel they are selling "snake oil". As well, I feel that Mr. Weaver's opening letter is slightly offensive, suggesting that those who want the "descriptions and various arguments" are not as bright as they expect the members to be and that they respect the members and that is why they sent out the entire bylaws and articles of incorporation, acting as if it is an "either/or" issue. All of the above should have been sent out in the first place, and actually, they will haven't sent out the various arguments part.

It'll be very interesting to see the results if they are "no" and curious if they are "yes" (perhaps even suspicious).
legaleagle's Avatar legaleagle 01:47 PM 02-19-2008
The below message is from another retired officer of the FPEA who is concerned about the proposed bylaws changes.


From: "Mardy" <[email protected]>
To: <[email protected]>
Subject: Vote NO on Proposed FPEA Bylaw Changes
Date: Monday, February 18, 2008 11:52:09 PM

Hello Everyone,

Bill has asked me to send this to any FPEA members (or those who we think are probably FPEA members) in our personal address book. However, he says to add that you have his permission to pass it on to anyone who shares his concerns about the changes being proposed by the current FPEA Board.

Mardy

- - - -

Dear Friends of FPEA,

There are serious, sweeping changes being proposed to the FPEA bylaws by the current Board of Directors. These changes would affect the governing structure of FPEA, the central thrust being a strong move away from member-driven rule toward board-controlled rule, with a corresponding decrease in Board accountably to membership.

My wife, Mardy, and I join numerous past FPEA board members, officers and staff, including three former FPEA chairmen, in strong opposition to the proposed changes:

Cheryl Boglioli (State Chairman 2004-06, BOD 2000-06)
LaWanda Sutherland (Secretary 2003-05, BOD 1999-05)
Anne Mejeur (District 10 Director 2000-2004)
Marcy Krumbine (State Chairman 1999-04, BOD 1995-04
Muffy Amico (Vice-Chairman 1999-00, BOD 1998-01, FPEA Convention Coordinator 2001-05)
Jan Prentice (Sec/Treas/VC & BOD 1990-04)
Monte Hancock (State Chairman 1990-95, BOD 1986-95)
Bob Hemme (Vice-Chairman 2000-01, BOD 1998-2001)
John Kernohan (Vice-Chairman 2003-07, BOD 2000-07)
Bill Freeman, Past District 3 Director, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary
Glenn Powell, Past District Director
Sandra Smith (Office Manager/Publications Editor 1993-2001)

The strongest reason to vote no is because the Board is in acting in violation of the bylaws. The violation occurred when the Board asked the membership to vote on proposed changes to the bylaws without sending a description of the changes and arguments giving various viewpoints on those proposed changes. This step is required by the bylaws so that the membership can make an informed, educated decision before voting.

This action triggered a warranted furor of response from many former FPEA leaders who are intimately familiar with the bylaws.

Current FPEA Bylaws:

Article IX, Section 2. Amendments.
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of all votes cast by mailed-in ballots that will be mailed to all members of the Association as well as at a properly called meeting of the Association, or only through mailed-in ballots if requested by the Board. Any amendment must first be passed by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors and then a description and arguments giving various viewpoints, along with the mailed-in ballot, published in the newsletter or mailed out separately.

I spoke personally with FPEA State Chairman Gary Weaver in a phone call on Friday, February 15th. I cited Article IX, Section 2, and gave him my strong opinion that the manner in which the Board is conducting the vote on the proposed changes is in violation of the bylaws. Based on that fact, I strongly urged him to recall the vote.

Gary told me told me that the Board was not actually “amending” the bylaws, but “restating” them. He told me that the Board had been advised by legal counsel that a “restatement” of the bylaws was not the same as “amending” them, and by that definition the Board was not bound to uphold the portion of the bylaws dealing with “amending” the bylaws.

I advised Gary that I strongly disagreed with his legal analysis. I added that even if he did not feel bound to abide by the letter of the law that he was morally obligated to abide by the spirit of it. The purpose and spirit of that section of the amendment was to ensure that the membership was adequately informed and educated on potential consequences to proposed changes before being asked to vote.

I also advised Gary that if the Board felt so strongly about such a sweeping number of bylaw changes that it would be in FPEA’s best interest to present each proposed change to the membership separately, and not in a block, with one vote for each change. Each proposed change would also need to include a description and arguments giving various opinions as the bylaws stipulate.

I will add that the title of the proposed changes sent to the membership states, “Amended and Restated Bylaws,” and the Board cites compliance to Article IX, Section 2 of the bylaws on the first page.

I have now spent over 20 hours comparing the current bylaws with the Board’s proposed changes, and I am unable to invest any more research at this time into further documentation. The following is an unfinished summary of the most disturbing changes.

I encourage every FPEA member to compare the documentation below to the current bylaws. The easiest way to do this is to open the bylaws at

http://www.fpea.com/Association/BYLAWS.htm

and do a Control-F (Find) on the wording in any of the following points. I cannot find the proposed changes published on the Website, so you will also want to compare this documentation to the mailed packet you received as well.

As you consider these changes, please bear in mind that some organizations are created to be Board controlled. However, FPEA was created in 1984 to be member-driven. It rarely works to try to change the governing structure of an organization midstream, especially such a large one that has been running successfully for so many years.


Some Arguments Giving Various Viewpoints to Five Disturbing Proposed Changes to the FPEA Bylaws

As required by the FPEA Bylaws

Article IX, Section 2


Bill Freeman
Current FPEA Scholarship Board
Past FPEA District 3 Director
Past FPEA Vice-Chairman
Past FPEA Secretary
Past FPEA Treasurer
[email protected]
(352) 472-7700



1. One of the most alarming changes being proposed by the Board is the removal of a section in the current bylaws entitled “Superiority of Membership Action.”


The current bylaws state:


Article IX, Section 4. Superiority of Membership Action.
The Membership, acting by resolution or amendment of the bylaws or Articles, may overrule any decision, policy, or action of the Board.

a. This section was listed by the Board as “uncontroversial.”

b. Another viewpoint: By removing the right of the membership to overrule the Board, the Board would enjoy unchecked power, with the only accountability to membership for its actions being the next election. This is a most dangerous change. It would mean that, for example, should a Board decide to violate the bylaws of the organization, the membership would be stripped of any power whatsoever to overrule the Board’s actions.


2. Another disturbing proposed change is the Board’s request to extend Board member terms from 2 years to 4 years.

a. The opposing viewpoint presented by the Board: “It is possible that some member or members may not wish to elect Directors to four year terms…”

b. An argument that was presented in favor of this change is that it takes time for Directors to develop a relationship with area contacts.

i. Another viewpoint: Under the current bylaws, the only way a Director who wanted to serve for four years would not be allowed to is if the members of their District did not re-elect them.

ii. Another viewpoint: Four years is a long time in the event of a fractious or divisive Board member. It is in the best interest of FPEA if the membership retained their right to replace Directors after 2 years.

iii. (From Mardy: Even our Florida State Representatives as well as our US Representatives must stand for election every two years! They must also make area contacts.)


3. An equally alarming proposed change is that the Board is asking the membership to surrender their right to vote for their State Chairman.

Proposed Change: Section 4.02 Election and Term of Office> Officers shall be elected annually by the Board of Directors, except for the State Chairman, who shall be elected biannually by the board of Directors…


a. A viewpoint in favor of this change argues that because the State Chairman works mostly with the Board, and not the membership, it would be better for the Board to choose the State Chairman.

i. Another viewpoint: The Board structure in FPEA was designed to allow the District Director to concentrate on regional priorities whereas the State Chairman’s position was designed to come to the table with a broader, statewide perspective. The current bylaws consistently use the term “State Chairman,” reflecting the intentional design that this person is to represent the entire state, just as each local Director represents each district. The Board is redefining the term “State Chairman” as “Chairman.”

b. A viewpoint in favor argues that name recognition could become a greater factor than the candidate’s personal qualifications for office.

i. Another viewpoint: Under the proposed change, the State Chairman would only have to win a majority of the Board to be reelected (a small handful of people), regardless of how many members each Director represented. Thus, shared positions on certain issues could become a greater factor than the candidate’s personal qualifications for office.

ii. Another viewpoint: Only a current Director or a current State Chairman can be nominated for the position of State Chairman. That gives a maximum of 15 people who could possibly be nominated in any election. The 15 people that the Board propose to choose from are exactly the same 15 people that they would not trust you to choose from.

iii. Another viewpoint: Under the current bylaws, the State Chairman’s position was designed to work under the direction of the Board, but is accountable to the entire membership. The State Chairman would no longer be accountable to the membership.

c. A viewpoint in favor argues that under the current bylaws, a State Chairman could be elected by large block.

i. Another viewpoint: Under the proposed change, the same State Chairman would have to convince a smaller block (a maximum of half of the Board of Directors – 7 people) to win an election.

ii. Another viewpoint: Taking the State Chairman vote away from the membership is not the answer to potential problems.

d. Another argument that was brought to my attention was that that there is such a low voter turnout for State Chairman that it would not make much difference.

i. Another viewpoint: Stripping the membership of their right to vote for State Chairman and dismissing its significance because of low voter turnout is wrong. Homeschooling families are some of the busiest people we know.

e. Several arguments in favor of this change were stated in the second packet sent to the membership, however the Board presented no other viewpoint, stating “no known specific objection has been raised to the provision relating to the election. “


4. The Board is asking that election policy be established by the Board rather than by the bylaws. This is a very dangerous proposed change.

a. The opposing viewpoint presented by the Board: It is possible that some member or members…may wish to have the bylaws specify board election policies.

i. Another viewpoint. The two most basic purposes of bylaws in any organization is to 1) provide structure and 2) specify the limits of power of the Board.

ii. Another viewpoint: The bylaws are the laws of the organization that must be followed by both the membership and Board.

iii. Another viewpoint: A Board that can set their own election policy is potentially only one vote away from removing all membership votes.


5. The section in the current bylaws that requires the Board to publish Board Meeting times and location appears to have been stripped out of the Board’s “restated” version. I am very tired at this writing, so I may have missed it. The section which specifically authorizes members to attend all board meetings also appears to have been removed.

a. This section was listed by the Board as “uncontroversial.”

i. Another viewpoint: Even if a Board says it would continue to publish Board meeting times and locations without being required to, keeping that requirement in the bylaws is an important safeguard for all future Boards and for the membership.

ii. From Mardy: I once attended an FPEA Board meeting in which I was able to petition the Board about an issue that was dear to my heart. I wanted them to “hear my heart,” see my attitude and perspective, not just read my words in an email.


6. The section in the current bylaws that allows members to attend Board Meetings appears to have been stripped out of the “restated” version.

The Board has proposed dozens of other changes that I have simply run out of time to research and document. Many of these bylaw changes (whether the Board calls them “amendments” or “restatements”) will have a serious impact on the rights of FPEA members if they are passed.


We strongly urge you to:

1. Immediately vote NO to the proposed changes. Your vote must be posted by Feb 22.

2. If, after reviewing the bylaws, you believe the Board is acting in violation of the spirit and/or letter of the bylaws, please contact your Director and State Chairman and ask them to recall the vote.

3. If you have already mailed in your vote, and now believe that this vote is being called in violation of the bylaws, or now understand a different viewpoint and wish to change your vote, we urge you to ask to change your vote. (Under the proposed bylaws, members are specifically banned from changing their vote.)

Your State Chairman’s address is [email protected]

Your Director’s address is based on the district in which you live, i.e.: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], etc. If you don’t know your district, go www.fpea.com and click on All About the FPEA along the top border, then click on District Directors until you find the one who represents your county.

Sincerely,

Bill and Mardy Freeman

Bill Freeman
Current FPEA Scholarship Board
Past FPEA District 3 Director
Past FPEA Vice-Chairman
Past FPEA Secretary
Past FPEA Treasurer
[email protected]
(352) 472-7700


"Leadership is a willingness to rise to the bottom." - Dr. Glen Schultz
RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 08:13 PM 02-19-2008
Thank you, legaleagle! I have forwarded your letter on to others and plan to send it even further.
Kleine Hexe's Avatar Kleine Hexe 03:46 AM 02-20-2008
Hi Terri! Thanks for posting about LIFE. You do amazing work.

I learned about LIFE last year and it has been a great resource for me.
Pancakes's Avatar Pancakes 01:47 AM 03-11-2008
I got a letter today that states that the changes were approved with something like a 78% approval.

Oh yea....
mountainsun's Avatar mountainsun 04:53 PM 03-11-2008
Quote:
Alternative to FPEA in FL: LIFE of Florida
this looks very interesting, cant wait to look over the site!

Thanks for posting this
RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 12:53 AM 03-13-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancakes View Post
I got a letter today that states that the changes were approved with something like a 78% approval.
Which means that about 22% of their members are quite unhappy that the new bylaws have been approved.

I know that I've already heard that some of the members of our homeschool group have sent in letters rescinding their FPEA memberships and I know of a number of others who are planning to do so and even more who will not renew next year.

I joined LIFE shortly after starting this thread and I have been loving their messages and the information that they give out. I feel way more informed about homeschooling in Florida after joining them than I ever did with the FPEA.
brittneyscott's Avatar brittneyscott 02:13 AM 03-13-2008
Not in Florida and not truly homeschooling yet as my kids aren't school age but this appalled me and I had to respond. We are Christian and do want to include our religion/bible study in their education which is part of the reason we homeschool. That said we don't agree with the views of a lot of other Christian denominations and I don't want anyone but me (and OUR church) teaching my kids religious info. I'd have voted no too. I'm glad there is still an alternative for you.
TMWIllingham's Avatar TMWIllingham 01:13 PM 03-15-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
...I joined LIFE shortly after starting this thread and I have been loving their messages and the information that they give out. I feel way more informed about homeschooling in Florida after joining them than I ever did with the FPEA.
I'm glad you and others are finding LIFE of Florida helpful, and I'm very glad people are finding us. We've got a lot to offer, and the more members we have, the more we can offer each other, and FL, with respect to truly open, welcoming homeschooling support and networking.

Visit our website regularly for resources and updates on legislative and other information, both local and national in scope.

Thanks for helping get word out. :-)

Terri Willingham
RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 10:53 PM 03-20-2008
I have heard that the FPEA is quite pleased with themselves, that so far only
a couple of members have canceled their memberships after the ballot results were
sent out. Well, make it one more, since I just emailed mine in to
office at fpea dot com. (I'm also snail mailing a copy, for good measure.)



I thought perhaps some of you might like to know. :
RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 11:10 PM 04-06-2008
There is a new state-wide organization that has formed.
http://www.oursheaf.org
Secular Home Educators Association of Florida
Interesting, no?
frogguruami's Avatar frogguruami 04:13 AM 04-07-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverSky View Post
There is a new state-wide organization that has formed.
http://www.oursheaf.org
Secular Home Educators Association of Florida
Interesting, no?
Thanks I will have to check them out. I have decided not to renew and not to go to the convention this year. I think I will be going to the Georgia Convention instead.
RiverSky's Avatar RiverSky 03:48 PM 04-07-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by frogguruami View Post
Thanks I will have to check them out. I have decided not to renew and not to go to the convention this year. I think I will be going to the Georgia Convention instead.
You're welcome. Right now, you get an extra 4 or 5 months on your membership if you join. Hopefully, next year, none of us will feel the need to travel all the way to Georgia or other states just to go to a convention that suits our needs and wants. I can't wait!
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