Nonpublic school students; organizations governing participation in interscholastic programs. (HB947)

Introduced By

Del. Rob Bell (R-Charlottesville) with support from co-patrons Del. Peter Farrell (R-Henrico), Del. Randy Minchew (R-Leesburg), Del. Rick Morris (R-Carrollton), Del. David Ramadan (R-South Riding), and Sen. Ryan McDougle (R-Mechanicsville)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Nonpublic school students; participation in interscholastic programs. Prohibits public schools from joining an organization governing interscholastic programs that does not deem eligible for participation a student who (i) is receiving home instruction, (ii) has demonstrated evidence of progress for two years, (iii) is entitled to free tuition in a public school, (iv) has not reached the age of 19 by August 1 of the current school year, (v) is an amateur who receives no compensation, but participates solely for the educational, physical, mental, and social benefits of the activity, (vi) complies with all disciplinary rules applicable to all public high school athletes, and (vii) complies with all other rules governing awards, all-star games, parental consents, and physical examinations applicable to all high school athletes. The bill allows such students to be charged reasonable fees for participation. Amends § 22.1-7.1, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 01/11/2012 Committee
  • 01/11/2012 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/12 12102288D
  • 01/11/2012 Referred to Committee on Education
  • 01/18/2012 Assigned Education sub: Students and Early Education
  • 01/26/2012 Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (6-Y 2-N)
  • 02/01/2012 Reported from Education with amendment (14-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/02/2012 Read first time
  • 02/03/2012 Passed by for the day
  • 02/06/2012 Passed by for the day
  • 02/07/2012 Read second time
  • 02/07/2012 Committee amendment agreed to
  • 02/07/2012 Engrossed by House as amended HB947E
  • 02/07/2012 Printed as engrossed 12102288D-E
  • 02/08/2012 Read third time and passed House (59-Y 39-N)
  • 02/08/2012 VOTE: PASSAGE (59-Y 39-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/09/2012 Constitutional reading dispensed
  • 02/09/2012 Referred to Committee on Education and Health
  • 02/15/2012 Assigned Education sub: Public Education
  • 03/01/2012 Failed to report (defeated) in Education and Health (7-Y 8-N) (see vote tally)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical duplicates of this one: HB1005.

Comments

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers writes:

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers supports HB 947:

•Virginia’s homeschooled students would benefit from the opportunity to participate in athletic and other interscholastic programs governed by the Virginia High School League, but VHSL’s current eligibility requirements specifically exclude homeschooled students.

•Homeschooled students in Virginia’s rural communities would particularly benefit. In small, rural communities there are few options for homeschooled teens to play team sports or participate in other activities -- particularly at the high school level -- except through public school programs.

•Homeschool sports and activities access is working smoothly in 28 states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah and others. HB 947 is an approach that will work in Virginia.

•High school interscholastic programs are an important opportunity to qualify for college scholarships. Currently homeschooled students are denied the opportunity for that exposure.

•Homeschool sports access will strengthen community support for high school programs. Homeschooling families are already active, committed members of the community, and the addition of homeschooled students would expand the base of families involved in high school interscholastic programs.

•Homeschooled students in Virginia need legislative support in order to be allowed to try out for their local high school interscholastic programs. Despite significant effort by homeschooling organizations to work with members of VHSL to develop fair, reasonable and practical eligibility guidelines for homeschooled students, VHSL has refused to consider any change. Virginia’s homeschooled students are depending on the General Assembly for a chance to try out.

Tiffany writes:

This would be fantastic! Especially as these programs are so costly and difficult to find otherwise.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Legislation similar to this (though not as potent) has not fared well in prior years.

Irene Starrs writes:

As a homeschooling parent and Virginia resident, I strongly support this legislation. It's time for Virginia to join the ranks of all of the other states that have successfully allowed homeschooled high school students to participate in public high school sports.

Tammi McKinley writes:

It is time to get this legislation passed. Thank you once again, Delegate Bell.

Katrina Hadley writes:

If it works in other states, why shouldn't it work in VA, a typically homeschool-friendly state? Participating in high school sports would allow tax-paying homeschool families the benefit of opportunities their children may not have otherwise. Homeschool families, in general, are doing their state a service by raising high-integrity children with a quality education. It's a shame they can't receive the benefit of extra-curricular sports provided by the school system.

Bonnie Long writes:

I strongly support this legislation. I believe homeschool students would only be a benefit to the sports program. The families represented by these potential players are tax paying residents of VA.

Jen writes:

It is high time that discrimination against home schooled, athletically talented students ends in Virginia!

Amy Angel writes:

I believe it is time for this to be enacted into law. It is unfair for homeschoolers to be excluded from teams that they are eligible to participate it. It will be a win-win situation for both the homeschoolers and the teams.

Stacy Sin writes:

Homeschooled athletes would be a benefit to the public school sports programs. These kids would need to try out just like everybody else, why limit the talent pool? Loudoun county has always thrived on diversity, high school sports should be no exception.

Sandra writes:

Home schooled students would benefit greatly from the opportunity this bill provides.

The school teams would benefit by drawing members from, and receiving support from, a wider community.

Kristin Forman writes:

Homeschooled scholar-athletes would be a very welcome addition to the public school sports community in Manassas City Public Schools. Our homeschooled students strive for academic and athletic excellence and should be allowed to try out for and,if selected, participate on the public school teams. Homeschool families pay the same tax rate as public school families and deserve access to the sports programs that public schools provide.

Elsa Rose Hoffmann writes:

We pay our taxes and should be allowed to use the facilities and participate in the sports.

Lisa Fisher writes:

The passage of this bill would benefit many high level high school athletes. Unlike most aspects of home schooling, there are not alternatives in the community to participate in high level sports. There are many states who already have such a provision in place. This bill would simply expand access to a state funded resource that is truly meant to be a public good.

Beth koontz writes:

This would be incredibly beneficial to all involved.

Katharine Wang writes:

Giving homeschooled children access to sports programs in public school is a fantastic idea. It will enrich the education and sports experience of everyone involved.

Dawn Aronson writes:

This bill would benefit many homeschoolers. I have a 9th grade student who wanted to continue to be homeschooled but also wanted to play lacrosse. HE opted to go to school. I have a 10 year old who is currently homeschooled who will probably go to high school for sports as well. He has lyme disease and the homeschool schedule has suited his condition. Please consider allowing homeschoolers to participate in HS sports.

Kimberly McCabe writes:

This bill would not only benefit homeschoolers but the communities in which they live as well - it is a win-win for all involved. We homeschool for a variety of reasons, which includes being able to provide our children with greater academic challenge as well as being able to cater to different learning styles, allowing our children to maintain their self-esteem in the areas of academics even though they learn differently. Our children not only are thriving academically, but are good athletes who participate in local sports teams and contribute to the overall diversity and talent of those teams. They have consistently been valued and recognized for their sportsmanship and respect - wouldn't that be a beneficial trait to have on any high school sports team?

Diane Cates writes:

It is long past due that this bill was passed. Homeschooler's parent pay the same taxes as other Virginians and yet are not given the same benefits. These children should be permitted to be active in school sport teams.

Michelle Dzema writes:

This bill is extremely important to pass. Homeschoolers deserve the same access to sports activities that students enrolled in the public schools enjoy. We are all taxpayers, all participants in the smaller and wider communities.

Suzanne S. writes:

It bothers me that opponents of this bill say homeschoolers are trying to take advantage of the system. They claim homeschooled kids won't meet the same academic standards as public school students. Most of the homeschoolers I know choose to do so because they want their kids to have a BETTER education than schools can offer, not because they're letting their children watch cartoons all day. Also, no one is asking for a guaranteed space on varsity teams -- this bill is about the equal opportunity to try out. I don't see how that can be construed as unfair to anyone. I strongly support this bill. Thank you Delegate Bell!

Whit writes:

This bill undercuts some of the moral arguments homeschoolers make for keeping their children out of schools. Why do parents who claim that they keep their kids out of the public schools because of bad social influences think its any different on the athletic field? It isn't. The same kids in school during the day are the same ones on the teams. One argument that I actually agreed with was that homeschoolers made the public system more cost effective because those tax dollars were reallocated among the remaining students. This argument too loses some of its punch should this bill become law.

On a broader note, this may actually work to undercut the whole school choice movement. If homeschoolers gain a stake in some benefit of the public system, it could hamper efforts to ultimately take control of education from the state and return it to families and the local community. Be careful what you wish for!!!!!!

Waldo Jaquith writes:

This bill undercuts some of the moral arguments homeschoolers make for keeping their children out of schools. Why do parents who claim that they keep their kids out of the public schools because of bad social influences think its any different on the athletic field?

Whit, you just built a strawman and then burned it. It is true that there exists a certain percentage of homeschooled students whose parents choose to homeschool them because of "bad social influences" in public schools. It is wildly inaccurate to expand this to all homeschooled students, and then conclude that they're being hypocritical. What makes you think that there's any overlap between parents who are concerned about bad social influences and parents who want their children to play organized sports? They could be—and I suspect that they are—entirely different groups.

Whit writes:

Actually Waldo, it is you that has fabricated a strawman to knock down. My statement was conditioned by the word "some". Nowhere did I say that social reasons were the only reason parents choose to homeschool. Now granted, I used it because it is the reason I hear most often. That's anecdotal but then so too is your assertion and I'm not the one trying to pass legislation. I have to believe there is at least some major overlap where many of these same parents also want this bill passed. It would be interesting to see a survey of homeschoolers.

Kimberly Tran writes:

Although I do not homeschool any of my children, I completely support this bill in allowing those students who are homeschooled to have access to school sports and should be allowed to try out like "regular" students.

Elizabeth N. writes:

Thank you, Del. Bell, for your efforts in working towards fairness for all children. Because of living in a rural community, our access to sports is severely limited. As a former public school teacher who is now homeschooling, I can not understand why sports participation must be tied to schools. I fully support this bill.

Todd D. writes:

Practically speaking, the academic, artistic, and athletic offerings of a particular public school are not meant to be an a la carte proposition. Forcing public schools to accommodate the participation of non-enrolled students in extra-curricular activities is only a short, slippery step away from forcing those same public schools to function as little community colleges where part-time students might pick and choose what coursework they will pursue as their whims dictate. It would be absurd to allow a home-schooled child to show up to a public school for just choir and French simply because the child's parents decided that the homeschooling environment did not offer adequate enrichment in those areas. It would be just as absurd to allow a home-schooled child to show up at his leisure for sports or band (potentially taking the spot of an enrolled student).

The "I pay my taxes, so my kid should play" argument is a non-starter. My taxes go to fund a myriad of programs for which I (either by choice or by circumstance) derive no direct benefit - without complaint from me. The Constitution of Virginia requires that the state fund public education. Those who choose to avail themselves of this service are welcome to do so. Those who choose to pursue other educational options are likewise welcome to do so. They are not welcome, however, to demand that the public education system cater to their every whim.

There is also something to be said for the community-building aspect of school extra-curricular programs. These programs foster a sense of school pride and an investment in the school community that would be greatly diminished by the inclusion of participants who do not share that common experience of the school environment. Imagine the profound resentment of the enrolled child who loses his or her spot on a school team to a kid who shares no common experience with his or her teammates other than a proximally situated street address.

Clearly (as evidenced by the well-orchestrated postings on this site), home-school organizations are encouraging their members to be very vocal on this issue. That does not change the fact that this is a bad bill that will hurt public education in Virginia and should never become law.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

It would be absurd to allow a home-schooled child to show up to a public school for just choir and French simply because the child's parents decided that the homeschooling environment did not offer adequate enrichment in those areas.

Not only is that not absurd, that's actually how it works in many places, Todd. Here in Albemarle County, my wife was home schooled throughout high school in the early-to mid-nineties, but for her senior year she went to Albemarle High School part-time, three days a week, to take Spanish and chemistry (IIRC). I can't see what's "absurd" about that. It's perfectly sensible.

I don't know why high school classes should be an all-or-nothing proposition. Does the student with a study period or an internship for one period each day cheapen everybody else's experience? What if she had two study periods? Or spent half of each day at the county's joint high school technical educational institute, learning to be a mason, as many students do? Does that somehow lessen her fellow students' education? What if she spent all day at the technical education institute, in her senior year? Must she be kicked off the basketball team? Why?

Amy writes:

Over half of Virginia's public school divisions already allow part-time classroom attendance. These programs work just fine, and the schools get funding to support them. It's a win-win situation.

As for community-building, this is exactly what homeschooling families are saying: these are community programs that are offered through the public schools, and they are also part of the community. These kids join their public school peers and friends for programs from pre-K on up -- and they are welcome in local schools for many extra-curriculars and club sports already. Only programs governed by VHSL specifically exclude homeschooled kids.

Jabaaru writes:

I am a home schooled student and I support this legislation. All people should be able to participate in public offerings. Children home schooled or attending public school go about their day the same. By allowing this bill to pass, home school children will have access to more activities that can be enriching to them. Thank you.

Mrs. Wright writes:

I strongly believe this bill should pass, it truly is a no brainer, there is nothing to fear. Every local citizen should have the free choice to participate fully or not participate fully in public school activities.

Todd D. writes:

Waldo,

That's great for your wife. That AHS was able to accomodate her circumstance is one thing. REQUIRING every district in the state to do likewise is quite another. Being a senior, I presume that she was able to provide her own transportation for those courses at AHS. What about younger kids who's parents may desire to pick and choose from the public school curriculum but cannot provide transportation back and forth during the school day? Should the school system step in and offer day-long shuttle service for anybody who wants it? Should it alterthe school day to accommodate the schedules of "part-time" enrollees? Seems like a mighty big (and expensive)can of worms. But we can't leave anyobdy out, right?

The rest of the examples that you cite are actually quite helpful in demonstrating how flexible and inclusinve the public schools already are when it comes to offering diverse and inclusive programs for all types of learners in all kinds of settings. But what the students in your examples also have in common (and which makes them eligible for school-sponsored activities) is that they are all working to meet the requirements of a curriculum over which the local school system still has some control. The same cannot be said of homeschoolers.

As an aside, nobody said anything about "cheapening" or "lessening" anyone's education. Please do not put words into my mouth.

Amy writes:

Parents whose homeschooled (or private school) students attend public school classes on a part-time basis DO provide their own transportation -- that is an assumption of these programs, and it is very clearly spelled out. And their participation is allowed on a space-available basis. It works. So could sports and activities participation at the high school level.

Some public school divisions have actually indicated they would like to have homeschooled students participate on athletic teams, because they don't have enough students! Right now, however, the private Virginia High School League has control over these public programs, and local schools can't make their own rules even if they want to.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

That AHS was able to accomodate her circumstance is one thing. REQUIRING every district in the state to do likewise is quite another.

But, Todd, your objections aren't to a mandate. You describe the very concept of letting homeschoolers participate in just some aspects of public education as "absurd."

What about younger kids who's parents may desire to pick and choose from the public school curriculum but cannot provide transportation back and forth during the school day?

What about students who have a dentist appointment in the morning? This is a long-solved problem. The bus comes in the morning, the bus comes again in the afternoon. Thus ends the school system's obligation. Nothing new is presented here.

Should it alter the school day to accommodate the schedules of "part-time" enrollees?

Should they what now? Well, no, why in the world would schools do that? Nobody's proposing such a thing.

But what the students in your examples also have in common (and which makes them eligible for school-sponsored activities) is that they are all working to meet the requirements of a curriculum over which the local school system still has some control. The same cannot be said of homeschoolers.

This is an entirely new objection, Todd, quite different than your prior objections. Earlier today you were concerned that such schools would be "little community colleges where part-time students might pick and choose what coursework they will pursue as their whims dictate," which you apparently think is bad. And you argued that participation in such programs "foster a sense of school pride and an investment in the school community." In response, I pointed out that there are a great many students who do, in fact, pick their coursework.

So now it's about a common curriculum, not a state-level common curriculum, but it must be a local curriculum? Of what concern is that to playing baseball? If a homeschooler is studying particle physics and his teammates are studying geometry...so what? If my studied Spanish poetry at home while taking chemistry at AHS, how was that bad? Who did it harm? Is the harm greater or less than if she were not able to study chemistry at all for lack of equipment at home? Is the harm greater or less than if she had to come up with the money to pay Piedmont Virginia Community College to take a chemistry class instead of just taking one at AHS?

This is a lot of worry about some pretty abstract things, in defense of a pretty ephemeral concept of what school is and is not. You only want kids who take at least one class at the local high school to participate in sports (if I understand properly, you're OK with them taking the rest of their courses in masonry at the technical education school across town), but not kids who take two classes who are otherwise homeschooled. Do I have that right? But now you're saying what's even more important is that they have the same curriculum as the other students with whom they're playing volleyball?

As an aside, nobody said anything about "cheapening" or "lessening" anyone's education. Please do not put words into my mouth.

? I asked you: "Does the student with a study period or an internship for one period each day cheapen everybody else's experience?" Rather than answer, you've accused me of claiming that you said that. So I hope you'll understand my confusion.

Whit writes:

My concern continues to be that the focus of such a bill will actually hurt the cause of school choice by giving homeschoolers a stake in the continuation of the current system at the expense of more freedom down the road, especially for those who don't want to (or can't) homeschool but would want to move their child into some type of private arrangement. If the monopoly of public education and education labor forces are to be broken, all hands will be needed on deck. Those already able to afford homeschooling need to consider those with the same desires but not the resources under our current scheme, a scheme that would be under-girded and continued with the passage of this bill into law.

Also, there are now more private (and as or even more competitive to boot then the VHSL) options for sports then ever before, from AAU, American Legion baseball, swim and soccer clubs. The only sport that lends itself almost exclusively to public school is football. In fact, these options are even more flexible and offer more opportunity for practice and actual playing time then the very rigid VHSL system. Is the need truly there? In rural areas maybe, but then folks in those areas knew that already and they can always move if they desire more choices.

In a time of budget constraints(many school systems are looking into curtailing sports budgets) is this the right priority in the short term or even the long term, when viewed in the light of progressing towards more school choice? I can not support the GA spending a lot of time on this or its passage.

Michelle writes:

This is a very simple request...most schools would accomodate exchange students for a day, week or a year even if they are just going to move back to where they came from and yet, it is done in the spirit of welcoming and generally increases awareness and friendships for all involved. So why not include children in our own community? There have been no problems in any of the districts in Virginia that already allows it. For the more competitive sports-minded, it might be interesting too to find out if the teams/districts that DO allow home schoolers are more successful. Are we happy to keep some of the physically-gifted kids off the team, lose to other districts that are more open-minded, and see the state of Virginia as a whole lose ground, because a few people think everybody should be learning the same curriculum? If there is such a need to "keep everyone on the same page," then why do we offer different teachers for different subjects or different sports and after-school clubs anyways? "Same-curriculum" advocates, please really think about what it is you are saying. We don't want robots coming out of public, private or home schools...we want individuals with the ability to think for themselves. (My children have attended public school and been home schooled).

Keith Jacks writes:

Homeschoolers should have the same opportunities to participate in sports as public school children.

Chloe writes:

Who's going to lose with this situation? Certainly not the public schools, particularly those in the more rural areas of the state where they do not have the sheer quantity of kids to choose from. And which High School doesn't want their sports teams to win? They'll pick the best regardless of what their backgrounds are. Also, seeing as many school districts allow homeschoolers to participate in academic classes on a part time basis this seems like a very logical thing to include.

Todd D. writes:

Waldo, I have a range of objections to this bill. Forgive me if I failed to encapsulate them in my first comments on the subject. Hang on to your hat, because I might present others that were also not included in my initial post (if that is ok).

To clarify, I certainly object to a MANDATE that causes local school districts to lose control of their own eligibility, behavioral, and academic standards for participation in school activities. The current bill, I fear, opens the door for quite a bit of mischief in the area of eligibility requirements.

I also object to what I see as a subset of parents demanding public services on their own specific terms and catering to their own specific circumstances regardless of the effects on others. The examples I presented in my second post were merely attempts to illustrate the next logical steps in a progression of demands placed on a school system using similar justifications. “I pay my taxes so I get to pick and choose the services from the school system at my discretion no matter how that impacts the social environment or educational program of the school system.” (And extra-curricular activities ARE part of that program.)

That nobody is currently proposing those things does not matter. They could propose them in the future and use the same justifications that are being used now:

“I pay my taxes so my kid gets to play football, and I get to set the academic and behavioral requirements for his participation.”

“I pay my taxes, so my kid gets to take French, but she does not need to meet any prerequisites or adhere to any curricular requirements as they might apply to her classmates.”

“I pay my taxes, so my kid gets free transportation to school.”

I know you think this last one is particularly implausible. But I see the logic behind it as akin to that being used by proponents of this bill.

Next step: Kids at private schools who want to play sports at public schools. As you know, bills to that effect have been proposed in the GA before.

Another part of this to which I object is that while, for the most part, a school system’s costs (i.e transportation, salaries, heat, etc…) are fixed, most state and federal funding formulas are based on enrollment figures. So children that are not counted toward a system’s enrollment numbers can literally cost the system in terms of state and federal dollars (unless of course, so many students withdraw that schools can be closed and teachers fired). To have those kids turn around and demand to participate in extra-curriculars is a bit insulting (in my opinion). I know that advocates have insisted that these home schooled kids would pay fees in order to play, but I’ll bet that the fee structure that they envision comes nowhere close to covering the shortfall in state and federal dollars resulting from their children not being enrolled.

Furthermore, I view this whole scenario as one more arrow in the quiver of those who would dismantle the public schools completely. It is one more reason they can give parents to pull their kids out of public school, with the ultimate goal being that the state can get out of the education business altogether. Many who support the measure obviously have no such nefarious intentions. However, I would bet the farm that many do.

To answer your question: "Does the student with a study period or an internship for one period each day cheapen everybody else's experience?"
No. Of course not. That students are currently able to pursue varied and diverse coursework in pursuit of a diploma is a good thing. However, please don’t feign naiveté. You are rhetorically skilled enough to know that the way you phrased those questions implied that such was my position on the matter.

Lisa Rich writes:

This bill is a wonderful idea! Thanks so much to the sponsor and to the education committee for considering it! What a great opportunity this would be for the kids and the teams as a whole.

Michelle writes:

I agree with Lisa Rich above: thank you for considering this Bill. I want our state to be known as a nice place for ALL families to raise their children in; open to all forms of education and opportunity for its citizens...a bit like the Founding Father's vision, only better, and with a 21st century twist. I believe the passage of the Bill will help to accomplish that.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

To clarify, I certainly object to a MANDATE that causes local school districts to lose control of their own eligibility, behavioral, and academic standards for participation in school activities.

This I'm sympathetic to, as I suspect many are. The SOLs are a good demonstration of the problems of statewide educational mandates. In Virginia we fund education locally and, as a result, I think we should have more control over local educational norms.

That said, I don't think this bill is a mandate, as I'll explain below.

I also object to what I see as a subset of parents demanding public services on their own specific terms and catering to their own specific circumstances regardless of the effects on others. The examples I presented in my second post were merely attempts to illustrate the next logical steps in a progression of demands placed on a school system using similar justifications.

"Slippery slope" arguments are a logical fallacy. Quite literally anything can be opposed on the basis of a slippery slope. ("A drink of water before bed, little Timmy? Well, no, because soon you'll be wanting an entire turkey dinner before bed!" And so on.) In legislation, whenever possible, one should look what would be permitted by the proposal that is on the table and evaluate it on its merits, rather than the imagined actions of a future legislative session. We're talking about real children here, not abstract concepts of children. Home schooling makes many things possible, but organized sports is not one of them.

In case this point has been lost, the function of this bill is to regulate the Virginia High School League, the organization that has regulated and run a lot of high school athletics for the past century. They call the shots on things like this, not schools. Not to put too fine a point on it, if a public school wants to let a homeschooler play league sports, they can't. Because a Virginia business says that they can't. That's not right. I'm not sure many people at all would think that's right.

As I read this bill, schools can't join an organization that prohibits homeschoolers. The effect of this is of course to force the VHSL to agree that homeschoolers are OK. But it doesn't obligate schools to permit homeschoolers to avail themselves of that school's services. That remains a local option, as it has been for more than a decade.

Richard Bell writes:

I feel that the defining position that needs to be understood to better assess the impacts of this legislation is do the parents of children under homeschool instruction (assuming the children are all minors without sufficent standing) are: 1) making a conscious choice to have their children receive home school instruction, or 2) making a conscious choice to opt out of public provided primary and secondary eductation. To me this is the key distinction to move forward with any productive dialogue. I take no position for or against and have been both parent of children under home school instruction and now in public school. I can see both sides but not so clearly as to define a position.

Todd D. writes:

"Slippery slope" arguments are a logical fallacy. Quite literally anything can be opposed on the basis of a slippery slope.

That's funny. You seem to have no problem employing slippery slope arguments when criticizing legislation with which YOU disagree. A couple of years ago on this very board, you registered your objections to "In God We Trust" license plates by posting the following:

Though, to be fair, the whole of this license plate business is a slippery slope. The state should get out of the business of offering these kinds of plates. It's a lawsuit waiting to be lost.

http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2010/hb75/

Hmmm...

Todd D. writes:

Sorry, I'm new to html. That was supposed to be a link to the earlier license plate bill's history on Richmond Sunlight.

As an aside, thank you for your efforts on Richmond Sunlight. It is a tremendous resource for which you should be very proud.

t

C Bell writes:

If you don't agree with public education you may choose to be homeschooled or private education. I am very sorry, but high school sports are part of public education and you should not be able to choose one and not the other. If you really want to play high school sports you'll have to attend the school - and meet ALL requirements!!

LPowers writes:

There are many things that I pay for with my taxes and don't choose/am unable to use.

When you CHOOSE to homeschool your children, you CHOOSE not to use those offered services. Not every family has the ability to homeschool their children because of work/financial/military obligations, etc....and why should those families' kids not make a team because a homeschooled kid takes a spot on a team?

Thumbs up to Todd D's posts...I agree with your arguments 100%.

Carol writes:

Actually, homeschooling isn't always a first choice.

In my case it is the only remaining choice because my daughter could not stay in a school where students and teachers made her life miserable. So I have to pay for, and take time away from work for, alternative classes so that she can continue her education.

Yet I don't get to stop paying taxes, a substantial portion of which support a school that offers me no benefit. So I am paying double for her education.

Giving my daughter a chance to try out for and participate in activities that I can't provide at home is only fair. Some of those activities, such as chorus and sports, are beyond the capability of a HOME to provide -- and "other opportunities" such as community and travel sports are vastly more expensive (so I'm paying triple to give her those opportunities).

Further, college recruiters look to high school records and high school statistics -- they don't look for, or want to see, or have a venue to see, those isolated students who aren't part of a regular school system (so even though I'm paying triple we are still at a disadvantage for college opportunities).

The state requires homeschooled students to meet minimum academic progress requirements just as public and private schools do, so there is nothing unfair in that regard.

But it sure as heck is unfair to my family that we must triple our financial output, and radically increase our time investment, to replace what the school failed to give us (a safe and functional environment) and we are not even allowed to join the activities and sports which we are still supporting.

Aldous Snow writes:

Next year there will be a bill allowing students pursuing a degree at an online "college" (Phoenix) to play football for UVA.