Virginia Legislators Tebow Toward Home-Schooled Kids
Source: Sports & Leisure
By: Bob Cook
February 6, 2012
Virginia is moving toward forcing public schools to let home schoolers on their sports teams. You may know that legislative move as a Tim Tebow bill, because Tebow was a home-schooler who got to play football at his local high school thanks to a law Florida passed in 1996, pre-Tebow-as-athletic-hero — at least 14 other states have passed similar measures.
The Tebow bills come from the mindset that because you pay taxes to schools, your children should be able to play sports there, even though they don’t attend classes. It’s like how I pay taxes to the Air Force, so even though I’m not in the service, I should get to fly a fighter jet.
To get around the fact that the Virginia High School League, which oversees most prep sports in the state, is not a government entity, the bill would prevent any public school from joining a membership organization that bars homeschoolers from participating. The league’s Policy Manual, section 28-1-4 (1), says, “A ‘regular’ student is considered a full-time student who is in regular attendance and is carrying a schedule of subjects which, if successfully completed, will render him/her scholastically eligible for League participation the ensuing semester.’” The educational institution they are attending regularly, under league rules, is Mom’s Kitchen High, or wherever they are, not the public school.
The Tebow bill in Virginia, which has been introduced every year since 2005, looks like it’s got a chance, even though it’s only passed a House committee so far. The Republicans who control the legislative are generally supportive, and Gov. Bob McDonnell says he’ll sign a Tebow bill, though he hasn’t mentioned whether he would, in fact, Tebow after signing it.
The homeschool advocates make it sound like the justest and fairest thing in the world to let homeschoolers play sports at the local public school. Beyond the I-pay-taxes argument, a Tebow bill would allow Virginia homeschoolers to get greater opportunities athletically, and get the benefits of a team environment. “They just want to try out,” the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Robert B. Bell (R-Charlottesville) told the Washington Post, which notes his younger siblings were home-schooled. “They just want a chance to participate with their friends, their neighbors, their community members.”
They represent such pining youths as Patrick Foss, a homeschooler from South Riding who dreams of playing soccer at his local high school. ”Every Friday night I see the lights come on at my local high school and I wonder what it must be like to play in front of a hometown crowd,” the 17-year-old said during testimony to a Virginia House committee, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Excuse me if I don’t rail at the injustice of at all.
First, homeschool families, you pay taxes, but beyond my smart-aleck argument about not getting to fly a fighter jet, you don’t pay . As this editorial in the Franklin News-Post points out, the homeschoolers don’t count toward the formula Virginia has for doling out state money to schools — so the athletic homeschool families would be costing taxpayers money by their presence.
Second, by definition a homeschooler is already in a school — a school with an enrollment of one (presuming no siblings). Private school students, under this bill, don’t get the option of playing for their public school, even though their families pay just as much in taxes. So why leave them out?
Third, Patrick Foss was so hamstrung by his inability to play high school sports, he only ended up playing on club teams, becoming the 16th-ranked boys high school soccer player by ESPN, and suffered the indignity of getting a soccer scholarship to the University of Virginia. Note to homeschool advocates — this doesn’t help your cause. Patrick Foss seems to demonstrate why a family would homeschool — so it can select the best, private courses of education and development, far away from those cesspoolian public schools.
Fourth, I just find it so rich that homeschool advocates are more than happy to run down public schools and explain why they’re just not good enough for their little budding geniuses, yet they’re begging to lean on and cherry-pick the public school for things they can’t provide. Hey, no one forced you to homeschool. If you want to keep your kid away from the educational system, don’t come running back whining about I-pay-my-taxes when you child discover the lure of school stadium lights.
Plenty of parents have figured out how to find alternatives such as club and recreational sports, and forming homeschool leagues with teams made up of homeschooled students. (Virginia has such an organization.) You’re in a rural area, and you’re worried that you have to drive a long way to get your kid in some sport? Then drive. Your taxes paid for the roads, and if you have a driver’s license, there’s no law preventing you from taking advantage of using them. Unless you’re going to protest that you don’t need a driver’s license, but you need a law otherwise allowing you to use the roads for a very specific purpose.