A new bill
before the Tennessee Legislature would allow students who are home schooled to take part in after school activities (such as sports) at the public school they are zoned to attend. Part of the bill would also allow smaller private schools to have students participate in activities if their school didn't have them.
Proponents of the bill argue that the the smaller schools or the home schooled students would benefit from the increased competition and the opportunity to be seen by college scouts. They also say that the parents are paying taxes for schools the students don't attend. Advocates for the bill also say they only want all the children to be able to play together.
Mike Bell, a lobbyist for the Tennessee Home Education Association, says it's about giving the home schooled children "equal access."
On the other side, I have to wonder about this. I know that our public education system has issues, but these are people who made a choice to pull their kids out and teach them at home--for whatever the reason. It's like they want to have their cake and eat it too. This step is the first down a slippery slope.
First, letting the kids join the football team, next thing you know they'll want to participate in graduation ceremonies. Better yet--turns out that little Johnny who was home schooled had the highest GPA and is now taking that spot from the kid who earned that in the public school curriculum.
Then, I also have to wonder how much of a nightmare this could create in trying to oversee school sports. From my time as sports editor, I remember the TSAA has some pretty strict standards when it comes to participation in high school sports. So, how will this translate to the home school curriculum? Is an A in a public school classroom the same as one from a home school classroom? Also, how long until some wily coach figures out that Johnny Star-Quarterback is better suited to be homeschooled and get an "A" there rather than flunking in the public-school classroom?
Another question--with the budget for schools being a stretched thin as it already is, will this stretch it further? If you suddenly have an influx of home school students in the band programs, sports programs, after school programs, etc, will this create further strains?
posted by Michael Hickerson at 4/04/2005 03:34:00 PM