We talked last week about Tim Tebow. Great time as a Gator, and he is now in the NFL. Tebow was also home schooled. A Florida law passed in 1996 allowed him to play for the local high school, and it was there that he caught the attention of the college recruiters who started his career.
A bill introduced by Delegate Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville), would allow youngsters who are homeschooled to participate in public school sports. Specifically, it forbids a public school from joining an organization that doesn’t allow homeschooled kids.
There are currently ten states that allow a non-student to participate in scholastic sports. Many require potential athletes to meet specific requirements that would put them on an equal academic footing with their teammates. Some require testing, and some require academic reports, even though the state’s home school regulations don’t require them.
The right to home school a child is a federal statute, built into the U.S. Constitution. Access to public schools, however, is mandated by the state. Without a specific law on that access, the decision is often left to a school district or the scholastic athletic governing body.
We’re obviously big fans of kids participating in sport, and especially scholastic sports, but opponents of the bill bring up some interesting arguments:
- If the state or district has a “pass to play” requirement, then how do you regulate the academic performance of the homeschooled athlete? The curriculum of two students in public vs. homeschooled settings could differ greatly. The same grading system will not be used, and the same subjects might not be required or taught.
- Would a student who has dropped out be allowed to continue with a team if they were able to claim that they were being home schooled?
- If you have opted to not take advantage of a public school’s offerings, then what right do you have to use the team?
- A public school student is required to be on time and attend all classes. A home schooled student can somewhat choose a schedule.
- Without the structure of a school and team, would a homeschooled athlete have the leisure and advantage of additional practice and coaching?
Many localities, like Louisiana, have strongly opposed the option.
Tebow began playing for small church-affiliated teams before Florida opened the schools to him. Virginia also has a variety of leagues that offer team sports for homeschooled children. If you’ve taken the option to not attend your local school, have you also taken the option of not wearing their uniform?