Upset about FPEA going Judeo-Christian ...UPDATE IN POST #73 - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-01-2008, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Florida Parent-Educators Association (the big Florida homeschool association) that our local homeschool group is a member of recently sent out a new set of "articles of incorporation" and asked us to vote on it.

I consider it to have been done in a rather sneaky fashion, since the attached letter and the voting card say nothing about the actual reason for the new articles of incorporation BUT in the 17 pages of the proposed articles, the big change seems to be:

Quote:
The Association shall further such purpose in accordance with Judeo-Christian principles
...

Previously, the FPEA has been a secular group.

Looking on the FPEA website, there is no listed copy of the previous articles of incorporation, but there are bylaws and the only mention of "articles of incorporation" on the site says, under IX. Miscellaneous:

Quote:
Section 3. Superiority of Articles.
In the case of any conflict between the Articles of Incorporation and these Bylaws, the Articles shall control.
http://www.fpea.com/Association/BYLAWS.htm

Interestingly enough, when I did a search of the FPEA site for "Judeo-Christian", nothing came up.

Sooo....as I am an FPEA member and I do not operate under "Judeo-Christian" principles, I am going to be voting no, but I certainly want to do much more than just that. I want to speak far and wide and make sure that members know about this, that it doesn't pass them by and that those who oppose it stand up and say so.

I think that the homeschoolers of the state are much better served by a big umbrella secular organization, so that at the yearly convention, everyone can get together collectively and support and inform each other. Plus, I imagine there will be many secular groups who will not stay with the FPEA once they make the switch, whether they leave voluntarily or are forced out.

Does anyone have a similar experience who can give me advice or tell me about what happened in their area? I'd also love some advice suggesting how I can go about publicizing this or whether it's even worth it.

FWIW, our group has many devoutly religious (fitting into the Judeo-Christian umbrella) members who choose to specifically be members of our secular group.

Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-01-2008, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And I found another change.

The proposed mission statement is:

Quote:
Section 1.04 Mission Statement. The Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) exists solely to serve homeschooling families in Florida. The FPEA executes that mission through support for the legal right to homeschool, local school board education and interaction, support group networking, a state convention, local conferences and events, informative communications, and most importantly, by giving individual encouragement, all in accordance with Judeo-Christian principles.
(emphasis in red is mine)

The current mission statement is:

Quote:
The Florida Parent-Educators Association (FPEA) exists solely to serve homeschooling families in Florida. The FPEA executes that mission through support for the legal right to homeschool, local school board education and interaction, support group networking, a state convention, local conferences and events, informative communications, and most importantly, by giving individual encouragement.
from: http://www.fpea.com/Association/mission.htm
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Old 02-01-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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Ugh. I'm sorry. I hope you can get the word out.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:04 PM
 
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--The Florida Parent-Educators Association (FPEA) exists solely to serve homeschooling families in Florida. The FPEA executes that mission through support for the legal right to homeschool, local school board education and interaction, support group networking, a state convention, local conferences and events, informative communications, and most importantly, by giving individual encouragement. --

I am not sure what one would protest? Maybe they are just wanting fundies off their backs and made this way broad statement?
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:28 PM
 
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UUMom, they're adding this part to the mission statement that you posted? all in accordance with Judeo-Christian principles.

Hmmm... my guess is that it's just wording, and that nothing will really change. Then again, I'm not sure why they would add those particular words....

I barely looked at the packet they sent me as of yet. If you want to protest, get the word out and have everyone you know vote no. I am Christian, and I joined FPEA through our local Christian group. That said, it's supposed to be a secular organization, open to ALL homeschoolers in Florida, so they should not mention "Christian-Judeo principles" at all! Since you have pointed it out, I will vote no as well.
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Old 02-01-2008, 11:34 PM
 
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Hmmmmm, I was all set to join a local (secular) group which in turn enrolls you with the FPEA. Will have to look into this ~ does NOT make me happy

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Old 02-01-2008, 11:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
UUMom, they're adding this part to the mission statement that you posted? all in accordance with Judeo-Christian principles.


.

Ime, FL is an odd state in many ways.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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I noticed that, too.

I spoke to someone there not that long ago because I sent an email to them upset at their lack of non-Christian things at their conference among other things- including the lack of acknowledging unschoolers. I was sure to say that I searched and saw nothing that stated that they were a Christian organization.

The woman I spoke to was very condescending to me but hinted that they would be changing the wording to be more clear soon.

It's too bad. They are one of the largest home ed state groups and have one of the biggest conferences every year.

I'm very disappointed, but certainly not surprised.

Joyfully- Laura
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:07 AM
 
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Wow.. will be interesting to see how much their membership #s fall.. because I know I'd be doing a Good luck to you making some noise about this!

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Old 02-02-2008, 04:29 AM
 
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I just got the paperwork to vote, but I haven't read through it yet. Thanks for pointed this stuff out. I probably would have missed it. What a huge disappointment. I really enjoyed the conference last year, but I won't go if they won't offer anything for secular HSers.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
I barely looked at the packet they sent me as of yet. If you want to protest, get the word out and have everyone you know vote no. I am Christian, and I joined FPEA through our local Christian group. That said, it's supposed to be a secular organization, open to ALL homeschoolers in Florida, so they should not mention "Christian-Judeo principles" at all! Since you have pointed it out, I will vote no as well.
Oh thank you, Beanandpumpkin! I have many close friends who are also Christian and they still totally appreciate and prefer the FPEA to be secular.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainsun View Post
Hmmmmm, I was all set to join a local (secular) group which in turn enrolls you with the FPEA. Will have to look into this ~ does NOT make me happy
Well, you can start by calling or e-mailing your group and telling them of your concern. (you're not in Naples, right? If you're in Naples, PM me and I'll tell you plenty of stuff about our group) They might not have realized it yet, what the change is, that is. I know we haven't sent out info to our group yet, but that's what weekends are for. But also, I know with our local group, if you say you are already a member of FPEA, then you can join the group at a reduced rate and forego the membership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CariOfOz View Post
Wow.. will be interesting to see how much their membership #s fall.. because I know I'd be doing a Good luck to you making some noise about this!
Thank you, you have helped to reinspire me. I was feeling a little blase about it since I posted, thinking what's the point, but you know what, there is a point and I do want to make sure I stand up and have my vote counted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonicaS View Post
I just got the paperwork to vote, but I haven't read through it yet. Thanks for pointed this stuff out. I probably would have missed it. What a huge disappointment. I really enjoyed the conference last year, but I won't go if they won't offer anything for secular HSers.
And that therein lies the problem, I bet they already have a large majority of their booths sold already and I wonder now, especially after what Joyful Mom posted, if perhaps they have kept non Judeo-Christian vendors/booths/speakers out of it entirely. I know it's been the talk of our homeschool group for a couple of years that the convention was so entirely drenched in devout Christianity and wifely submission and all sorts of things like that, things that don't even apply to all Christians, let alone everyone else, that many of our members have chosen not to go in the past year or two. I was really hoping to go this year, but not if there is absolutely nothing for a non-religious unschooler.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJoyfulMom View Post
I noticed that, too.

I spoke to someone there not that long ago because I sent an email to them upset at their lack of non-Christian things at their conference among other things- including the lack of acknowledging unschoolers. I was sure to say that I searched and saw nothing that stated that they were a Christian organization.

The woman I spoke to was very condescending to me but hinted that they would be changing the wording to be more clear soon.

It's too bad. They are one of the largest home ed state groups and have one of the biggest conferences every year.

I'm very disappointed, but certainly not surprised.
Ooo, good job about emailing and calling, Joyful Mom. I admit that due to some local FPEA politics (not feeling that the regional person cares at all about our group, despite it being 13 years old), I have barely bothered to do anything with them at all. (I'm in a leadership position in our group) But I'm definitely going to speak up now. And I get the feeling that if the vote goes through, our secular group will be leaving the FPEA, people are already quite upset about it in our little part of Florida.

But your post made me wonder...what other home ed state groups are there? I've love to know what other organizations and groups you know of, state-wide things. And you mentioned it being one of the biggest conferences...what other conferences are there? I'd love to research our options.

Actually, I just went and did a search and I didn't find anything very good, but if you have any suggestions as to alternatives-to-FPEA, I'd love to hear them.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:21 AM
 
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It has been going this way for awhile. I know that friends that attend the conferences said that they got less and less secular every year. I think that there are several places in the state (including here) where hs that are fed up with the changes are trying to start new, truly secular groups.

I think that this is a very divisive measure. I get along fine with the predominantly Christian hs that are in our area and likely they probably don't even know I'm not mainstream. We just don't talk about it. I guess the main thing is the state needs a broad support system for all hs. Right now it sounds like if you don't fall into this very narrow category then you don't deserve state support.

I know how frustrating it is here. Even the local large group, Heri is all Christian based and doesn't acknowledge that there might be people like me out there who truly are hs because they believe their children will get a better education that way, not just a Christian education.

Keep fighting, there are plenty of us in the state.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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I guess it IS only going to cater to Christians... here is what the children's program during the convention is:

Quote:
Children’s Program for Ages 5-12
Parents are concerned with their children's spiritual and educational needs, but what about the worldview they embrace? Research shows that more than 70 percent of Christian teens walk away from their faith after leaving home. Most children need a worldview overhaul, and the sooner the better!
Achieving the great American dream has become the great American disaster for many American families. Most worldviews are based on assumptions and lies we've been led to believe rather than on the Bible. It is imperative that our children embrace a biblical worldview so that:


Their views of God, man, truth, meaning and morality will be consistent with Scripture
They can develop habits of holiness
Their worldview can carry them through tough times
When they leave home, they don't jump ship


Worldview 101, led by Don and Pat Wesolowski, is designed to challenge young children to develop a biblical worldview. Workshops include basic worldview instruction, as well as lessons in logic, public speaking, obedience, honor, truth and media discernment. The fun-filled, action-packed classes with teen teachers will keep your children entertained as they spend their days learning what it means to live out a biblical worldview.

......

http://www.fpea.com/Convention/children.htm
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
I guess it IS only going to cater to Christians... here is what the children's program during the convention is...
http://www.fpea.com/Convention/children.htm
Thats what prompted me to send the first email I did to them. It was way back in late November/early December when I first got the conference booklet.

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Old 02-02-2008, 01:39 PM
 
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A lot of people think that "Judeo-Christian" means "interfaith" in the U.S.

I don't know if this might have something to do with it?
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Old 02-02-2008, 03:32 PM
 
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I received the packet and read through the majority of it. I too was rather surprised with the Judeo-Christian wording. I wondered if I had just missed that when I registered, and decided not to renew because of my own stupidity for not checking. I do know there is a fair amount of Christian information with the conference offerings and in their newsletters, but I thought it was informational considering the numbers of Christian homeschoolers. Even with that information, I was under the impression that the organization itself did not take a stand on the issue.

Now that I know that this is the change proposed, I will vote no and will not renew my membership if this wording is adopted. I don't mind homeschool groups that subscribe to any one faith, but this is a huge state-wide organization with members from many faith backgrounds. It seems they want to alienate too many people.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:15 PM
 
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I am an FPEA member as well. I read through the packet and also disagree with the "judeo-xian values" mumbo jumbo. Also, I read the articles of incorporation stuff, called the FPEA and got ticked off.

Some ideas on what do to:

Vote no on the changes. My reading of the articles shows they need more than a simple majority to change the bylaws.

Call the IRS. They really ticked me off when I called the FPEA office. I asked the FPEA rep that I spoke with how they can call themselves inclusive when everything is Christian. In short, since they don't require a statement of faith to be signed, they call themselves inclusive. And, as the FPEA rep so cheerfully (snotty) said, "I might learn some good news by hearing some of the Christian information" It's really a back door to preach to the unwashed heathens. Why the IRS? Because the AOI says they incorporated as a 501(c)(4) which is a social group, not religious. Frankly, they'd be better off in terms of fundraising to be a (c)(3) religious organization. The only reason to stay a (c)(4) is for less government oversight about the financials.
The reason I happen to know this stuff is because I did an extensive investigation of 501 status trying to incorporate a homeschool group. Sooo...I called the IRS and filed a complaint. I'm also going to write a letter. Feel free to PM me for the text I used and address information.

Start or take part in growing a state SECULAR organization Deep in Huckabee country here, there is an organization called Florida United trying to be a statewide organization. They've also set up an umbrella school that's only $40 or so a year. (I found an unschooling one that's even cheaper) I would REALLY like to help start a statewide secular/inclusive conference like the IN HOME one in Chicago. Fantastic programming for adults and kids..I'd be happy to work on a committee pulling together secular homeschoolers from all over the state.

All of this is, of course, my own opinion.

Debby

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Old 02-02-2008, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am an FPEA member as well. I read through the packet and also disagree with the "judeo-xian values" mumbo jumbo. Also, I read the articles of incorporation stuff, called the FPEA and got ticked off.

Some ideas on what do to:

Vote no on the changes. My reading of the articles shows they need more than a simple majority to change the bylaws.

Call the IRS. They really ticked me off when I called the FPEA office. I asked the FPEA rep that I spoke with how they can call themselves inclusive when everything is Christian. In short, since they don't require a statement of faith to be signed, they call themselves inclusive. And, as the FPEA rep so cheerfully (snotty) said, "I might learn some good news by hearing some of the Christian information" It's really a back door to preach to the unwashed heathens. Why the IRS? Because the AOI says they incorporated as a 501(c)(4) which is a social group, not religious. Frankly, they'd be better off in terms of fundraising to be a (c)(3) religious organization. The only reason to stay a (c)(4) is for less government oversight about the financials.
The reason I happen to know this stuff is because I did an extensive investigation of 501 status trying to incorporate a homeschool group. Sooo...I called the IRS and filed a complaint. I'm also going to write a letter. Feel free to PM me for the text I used and address information.

Start or take part in growing a state SECULAR organization Deep in Huckabee country here, there is an organization called Florida United trying to be a statewide organization. They've also set up an umbrella school that's only $40 or so a year. (I found an unschooling one that's even cheaper) I would REALLY like to help start a statewide secular/inclusive conference like the IN HOME one in Chicago. Fantastic programming for adults and kids..I'd be happy to work on a committee pulling together secular homeschoolers from all over the state.

All of this is, of course, my own opinion.

Debby

Mom to several furries and Ben (8) Josh (3 going on 40)
Whew-hew, Debby! And yes, I have a friend who was going to investigate the tax route and I LOVE your ideas, that really helps flesh it out. And I'm so glad to hear about the IN HOME. I'm the director of our local secular group and I think most of our veteran homeschoolers would all be very in favor of a strongly secular stance, even though many of them are Christian. I would love to get in contact with you. I am planning to send e-mails to as many or all of the groups in Florida to point out to everyone what the vote is really about. I'm not sure whether I should focus my emails to more secular groups or not. But definitely, if these changes go through, I will no longer be an FPEA member.

And we would DEFINITELY go to an IN HOME conference, if there was one set up.

Thank you very much for your post!
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by beanandpumpkin View Post
I guess it IS only going to cater to Christians... here is what the children's program during the convention is:




http://www.fpea.com/Convention/children.htm
Yup, and I'm sure they would love it if I put my children into the children's program, running around talking about which animals they hope to be reincarnated as.



The teens program is equally as narrow and all about their brand of biblical worldview.
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Old 02-03-2008, 11:29 PM
 
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If they sent it out to vote on that seems fair to me.

(Not trying to get flamed.)

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Old 02-03-2008, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If they sent it out to vote on that seems fair to me.

(Not trying to get flamed.)
Well, we have 60 homeschooling families in our secular homeschool group who have all paid their annual dues to the FPEA and yet only a small portion of them operate under the "Judeo-Christian" principles. How is it fair to me, who is not Judeo-Christian that I have paid dues to support a secular convention, that is not even the least bit secular?!? How is it fair to all the other members of my group and other secular groups in Florida, who did not sign up to be in a Judeo-Christian group? If they had wanted to make a change, wouldn't it have been more fair to do it say, in the late spring or early summer, before everyone re-enrolls?

I'm guessing they just want everyone's money and to do with it as they please. :
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:07 AM
 
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They should give prorated refunds to people who choose to pull out if it passes. Do they normally do that with people who would pull out for the year for any reasons (moving or whatever)?

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Old 02-04-2008, 12:38 AM
 
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Fair and right are not necessarily the same thing.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:53 AM
 
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Since the workshop programs are already picked, and the ones posted are not secular by any means (and they are the only children's workshops available), I don't think it is really going to matter what the majority votes. It seems as though the decision has already been made. I agree that they should have waited until the summer, or else (before changing the children's program) sent out the packets for voting now, and made the effective date Sept 1 (or whenever the new year begins with them).

I never got anything in the mail about the workshop programs... Laura, did you (or anyone else) get the schedule for the adult workshops? Our group was slow about getting out the membership dues I think.
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Fair and right are not necessarily the same thing.
Meaning?
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Old 02-04-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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Meaning?
That it may be "fair" to take a vote on this, but it is not necessarily the right thing to do, particularly since it means targeting and excluding religious minorities.

eta: and like a pp, I wonder about the legality of this. If they are significantly changing their focus, they may need to reincorporate or something. Non profits have a lot of regulations they have to meet.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:01 AM
 
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I never got anything in the mail about the workshop programs... Laura, did you (or anyone else) get the schedule for the adult workshops? Our group was slow about getting out the membership dues I think.
The only thing I had was about the speakers but it wasn't *the* program yet. More like an announcement. They were all very Christian as well though. And I did get it back in November. It was definitely before the holidays.

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Old 02-04-2008, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Since the workshop programs are already picked, and the ones posted are not secular by any means (and they are the only children's workshops available), I don't think it is really going to matter what the majority votes. It seems as though the decision has already been made.
I agree but I want to publicize the changes before anyone else who cares about this issue gives them more money.

I'm personally going to wait to see what the ballot results in, but if the changes are approved, I will be leaving the FPEA. Which causes an interesting dilemma since I am the Director of an FPEA recognized secular homeschool group.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Cassiopeia View Post
That it may be "fair" to take a vote on this, but it is not necessarily the right thing to do, particularly since it means targeting and excluding religious minorities.

eta: and like a pp, I wonder about the legality of this. If they are significantly changing their focus, they may need to reincorporate or something. Non profits have a lot of regulations they have to meet.
Ah, I see. Thank you for the clarification.

Yes, I think that calling and sending letters and packets (perhaps with conference info, the latest almanac and a copy of the proposed bylaws and articles of incorporation) to the IRS to give them a nice big heads up, is an interesting way to go.
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Old 02-04-2008, 01:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Am I reading this right?

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

Under IX. MISCELLANEOUS

Quote:
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.
The red, bolded part is what I am emphasizing...

Since there are no descriptions or arguments giving various viewpoints, which were sent out with the mailed-in ballot (or mail-in ballot card) and there is nothing regarding this in the Jan-Feb FPEA Almanac magazine (newsletter), then have they failed to follow the current bylaws entirely?

If so, what can be done? Can we get them to scrap this ballot entirely because they didn't go about it properly?

Advice, anyone? Please?


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