Letting them play, 7 April 2008, The Daily Advertiser, Lafayette, Louisiana
“Extracurricular activities like sports are an integral of character formation,” Riser said. “Choosing to home-school children shouldn’t disqualify them from participating in public-school activities. They’re paying the same taxes as the parents who have children enrolled in the schools.”
“My biggest concern is the validation of grades,” said Henderson, who said the LHSAA hasn’t taken a position on the bills. “I know that there are many academic success stories in home-schooling, but I also know that if I taught my own children at home you can bet that they would pass.”
Both Riser’s and Michot’s bills (Senate Bill 578 by Riser and Senate Bill 576 by Michot) would require academic screening, and Riser said that his bill would also require that a home-schooled student be required to participate only with the public school in the district in which he or she lived.
If the children of all taxpaying citizens ‘ought’ to be able to participate in publicly-funded activities that are not directly tied to education, then the fairest solution is to sever the ties between schools and activities. The ‘deprived taxpayer’ complaint is a red herring.
Many people have no way to use the schools their taxes support, but they have to pay the taxes whether they want to or not. Singles, married couples with no children, parents whose children are grown, retirees and elderly home-owners all have no way to personally benefit from the use of their money. Many of these people gladly support their local schools, but there are no ‘opt in/opt out’ checkboxes on county tax forms to give the taxpayers a choice. That homeschooling parents have voluntarily removed their children from the pool of eligible participants was their own decision, and one that they knew the consequences of.
The controversy about grade point average as a qualifier is a carrot used by the school systems to ensure that only ‘deserving’ students participate in activities. If the activities are to be offered to homeschooled children because they are deserving because their parents pay taxes, then why are the enrolled students not also eligible, despite grades, because their parents pay taxes? Does attending school at all fulfill the taxpayer benefit? And if it does, where is the benefit for the people without children to put into the system? (remembering that my question is based on the presumption that homeschooled kids need to be able to participate because their parents pay taxes)
The entire homeschooler-participation in school sports/activities commotion does nothing but drag homeschooling back into the public education domain from which parents once removed themselves.