There are some Ohio issues hitting the homeschool news stream in the last couple of months.
Pike County Daily offers a guest contribution from Melissa Mowery:
Whether it is the Classical approach, Literature based, Christian Education, Un-schooling, or Online Schools, home education offers parents the ability to decide what their child should learn, when and how. In home education, a six year old can learn Latin, while a ten year old is just learning to read fluently, but excelling at math. Children develop at different levels. Homeschooling allows a student to progress at their own pace in each subject area in an atmosphere where they are cherished and loved. How’s that for a positive learning environment!
Ohio is a homeschool friendly state. The State of Ohio just passed a budget that will allow homeschool students to participate in all extracurricular activities available at their local public schools, and this includes sports. This bill was signed by Governor Kasich earlier this month to allow equal opportunity to all students in Ohio.
On July 2, PJ Media‘s Paula Bolyard reported a Stealthy move by Ohio legislators will allow Ohio homeschoolers to participate in sports.
When Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the state’s $62 billion, two-year budget into law on Sunday night, some homeschoolers were stunned to find out that tucked inside was language (3313.5312) expanding the rights of homeschooled and private school students. They will now be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in the public schools in their home districts, including high school athletics. Without debate or fanfare, legislators added an amendment in the finance committee before the final vote giving homeschoolers (and private school students whose schools do not offer a particular activity) the right to join their local public schools for extracurricular activities:
“A student who is receiving home instruction…shall be afforded, by the superintendent of the school district in which the student is entitled to attend school…the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular activity offered at the district school to which the student otherwise would be assigned during that school year.”
Millersburg Representative David Hall was considering a bill to allow homeschooling participation in their local public school districts.Seeing an alternative, he inserted an amendment into the budget plan while it was still sitting in the House Finance Committee. The new accessibility law includes other private school students too.
Mowery also held forth that “homeschool parents’ tax dollars have always supported the public school system, with no benefit to their family.” In May, Senator Jordan presented a bill proposing property tax relief for homeschoolers, as reported here on News & Commentary. The bill appears to be a non-starter – still sitting in the Ways and Means Committee.
But last Friday, Brandon Blackwell of The Plain Dealer reported on Senator Jordan’s bill:
State senator aims to give tax break to home-schoolers
“What I hear people complaining about from the right and the left is that we need more parental involvement with children and education, and nothing gives better involvement than home-schooling.”
The Ohio School Boards Association staunchly opposes the legislation.
“It takes away from something we think every sector of the economy should pay for, their fair share of public education,” said Jay Smith, a lobbyist for OSBA, adding that SB 127 could lead to a slippery slope of tax breaks for others who keep their kids out of public schools.
This non-moving bill is certainly gaining a lot of attention (and conversation, as evidenced in the above article’s comments). Homeschooling remains a controversial issue going up against the customary public school norms.