These are homeschooling articles I enjoy reading. Virginia Commonwealth University‘s Capitol News Service posted a lengthy article: Home Schooling on the Rise in Virginia by Allison Landry and Amber Shiflett. Homeschoolers were the homeschooling experts in this article, rather than people who like to study homeschoolers. (more…)
The “Tebow” Bill is up again in Alabama. The proposal has been raised in years past and defeated by legislators.
WHNT Lawmakers Review “Tebow Bill” For Home-Schooled Athletes by Nick Banaszak
Senate Bill 186, better known as the “Tim Tebow Act”, would erase the barrier that currently exists between home-schooled students and public high schools in Alabama. The Tebow Act would allow home-schoolers to play as long as they’re good enough to make the team.
Alabama is one of 25 states that still bar home-schoolers from playing for their local high public high school, with lawmakers staunchly rejecting similar legislation in the past. Tim Tebow famously won the Heisman Trophy and two national championships during his time at the University of Florida, but those honors were preceded by Tebow’s performance as a home-schooler when he led his public high school football team in Florida to a state championship.
There are currently five sponsors and it’s sitting in the Senate Education Committee.
Over in the Pacific, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Home-school bill on hold again by Nanea Kalani
Lawmakers have again shelved a bill to allow Hawaii’s home-schooled students to participate in extracurricular activities at public schools — a recurring debate at the state Capitol for at least the past decade.
But the issue remains in play, as Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Jill Tokuda said she will ask the state school board to thoroughly vet the issue and make a recommendation to lawmakers before next year’s legislative session.
It was a bit shocking to see extracurricular participation was popped into a bill that calls for Hawaiian homeschoolers to enroll in public schools. As I read it, that carrot would not be appealing with the stick. It is good to see the Senate Education Chair and sponsor of this bill chose to defer it. Let’s hope it dies a quick death too. SB 922 called for this:
Requires all home school students to enroll at the public school in the student’s service area. Requires home school students who are enrolled at the school in their service area to be calculated as an unspecified per cent of a non-home school student at that public school under the weighted student formula. Allows home school students to participate in any extracurricular activities offered by a public school. Amends section 302A-101, HRS, to add definitions for “enroll” and “home school”.
In a Patch blog post, Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen highlighted the defeat of the bill as one of the three most important actions residents could advocate for this session as Richmond pressed on with what he called an “educational extremism.”
The school board voted to advocate against the proposal, McElveen wrote, “because, in short, the bill would be unfair to current FCPS students who must comply with academic standards in order to participate.”
“While the Tebow bill would require home-schooled students to meet academic benchmarks for two years before joining a team, those standards are not clear. As some have argued, public schools aren’t “a la carte”—students and their families have the choice to participate in the public school system and all of the activities it provides.”
It seems incredible that defeat of this bill could be one of the most important actions regarding Virginia education. The opponents’ tone seems to go along with many other anti-homeschooling comments. The impression given is homeschoolers are slackers and it’s obviously not true. We made the commitment to educate our children, we have high standards and we get the job done. That piece of homeschooling criticism gets old and stale very quickly.
Let Home-schoolers Take the Field
Washington Post Editorial Board
A BILL THAT would allow Virginia students who are home-schooled to play on public-school sports teams has cleared the state House and is now headed to a Senate committee, where a similar measure died last year. Our reservations about the so-called “Tebow Bill” have been rooted in a belief that issues about athletic eligibility, student activities and what constitutes a school community shouldn’t be usurped by Richmond.
It is clear, though, that the group entrusted with helping to make those determinations needs to revisit rules that have become too rigid. Local school districts that want to include home-schooled students are barred from even trying.
The editorial concludes stating the sponsor, Delegate Bell, would introduce the bill again next Session, if it doesn’t pass, as he “believes that a generational change of attitudes is occurring about home-schooling in which the lines are being blurred and it’s only a matter of time before his bill is approved.”
Read more here. The comments pertaining to the editorial are abundant.
Here’s a Legislative Update from the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (VaHomeschoolers)
House Subcommittee Votes 7-1 to Approve Sports Access Bill
HB 1442, patroned by Del. Robert Bell (R-Albemarle), addresses public school sports and interscholastic activities access for homeschooled high school students. The House Education Subcommittee on Students and Early Education amended the bill to include a sunset provision which would discontinue the provisions of the bill in June 2018 unless further action is taken. HB 1442, as amended, passed the subcommittee by a vote of 7-1 (as compared with a vote of 6-2 for a similar bill in 2012).
The Senate Committee also had a companion bill to HB 1442 - SB 812. The Senate bill was scheduled for hearing in the Senate Education and Health Committee this morning. It was delayed by the sponsor to help ensure success. (Last year’s bill failed by one vote.) The House bill should be considered by the full House Education committee next Monday and the Senate bill might be heard a week from today on January 31.
As often happens with homeschool-related bills, the homeschooled kids were seen and heard. From the Legislative Update:
We were proud to introduce to legislators our two young Legislative Interns, Sydney Bowman (age 12) and Micah Fitz (14), who testified about why sports access matters to them.
Amy Wilson also offered lobbying information to families wishing to attend and participate in these hearings:
One of the primary arguments in favor of the bill is the benefit that it could extend to homeschooled students, so an audience full of families in favor of the bill will definitely make an impression on legislators. There will also be an opportunity for a few students to testify, though we expect testimony to be limited due to time constraints. If your child would like to testify, please help him or her prepare a written statement about the personal impact that homeschool sports access could have. Help your child practice reading the statement with a strong, clear voice and use a timer to be sure it is no longer than one minute.
More VA Homeschoolers Information on Tebow Bills
News & Commentary posted previous news coverage here.
Virginia’s Homeschooling Families Tire of Waiting
Amy Wilson, Director of Government Affairs for The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, expressed the view of supporters of Virginia’s “Tebow” bills: “Homeschoolers in Virginia would like to have what homeschoolers in 29 other states have: access to quality competitive athletics at their local public high school. Students who were homeschooled high school students when this issue first arose in Virginia are now old enough to be parents themselves! Homeschool sports access is already working, using a variety of legislative and policy-based models, all over the country. No state that has enacted an access law or policy has ever rescinded it – in New Mexico, access has actually been further expanded over time. Access can work in Virginia, too.”
Readers of my personal blog, At Each Turn, will remember how disappointed I was that so much media coverage had incorrect information about the homeschool sports access bill. Over and over again, we read articles that simply misstated facts, including misstating what the bill, if passed, could or would do. The media frequently made it seem as if hundreds of homeschoolers would expect to be placed on school athletic teams around the state, without regard to their academic standing, their athletic ability, their self-discipline, their place of residence, or the desires of their local school board. In fact, the bill would have allowed homeschoolers who have met the state’s academic requirements for homeschoolers for two previous years try out for teams in their school assignment area only in school divisions who made local decisions to allow them to do so.
The same problems seem to be occurring this year. Director of Government Affairs for The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, Amy Wilson, was kind enough to discuss the bills with me via email. From my angle, I lamented current Illinois legislature is not particularly homeschool friendly, with some local authorities using public school participation opportunities as a prospect for Illinois homeschool registration. The difference seems to be Virginia is a notification state, while Illinois homeschoolers are not mandated to notify or register with school authorities. Each state has to ‘play’ with what they have. Right now, I’ll settle on the gratification Illinois doesn’t notify or register.
Amy explained the networking skills and hard work effectively used by her group:
The right legislative environment is key – as it always is. It’s helpful to lay the groundwork ahead of time in order to be most effective at the local level. VaHomeschoolers proactively communicates on a regular basis with Virginia public school superintendents, the state Department of Education, and statewide public school professional associations to establish a working relationship with these groups. We’ve been able to work effectively with local school divisions when problems arise (with no attorneys involved on our part), and we have also provided homeschooling families with information and support so they can approach their local school boards when they wish to seek a policy change.
The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers offers an annual survey to their members, tabulates the results and acts on them. The membership wants these bills to pass.
Recently two homeschool advocates were guests on the Kojo Nnamdo radio show titled “Homeschooling Goes Mainstream.” The discussion centered on the history of homeschooling and the diversity of the greater homeschooling community.
The guests were Celeste Land, Director of Government Affairs for the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, and a member of the board of directors; and Michael Donnelly, a member of the Staff Counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association.
On October 14th Amy Wilson, also of VaHomeschoolers, reported on the program for the VaHomeschoolers Connection:
Celeste Land, VaHomeschoolers’ Director of Government Affairs and a member of our Board of Directors, was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC on October 13, 2010. The program segment, entitled “Homeschooling Goes Mainstream,” also included Mike Donnelly of the Home School Legal Defense Association. Kojo and his guests discussed the history of the homeschooling movement, beginning with “anti-establishment freethinkers” in the 1960s, as well as the growth of conservative Christian homeschooling in the 1970s, and the appeal of homeschooling to a diverse cross-section of the American population today.
Read the rest of Amy’s good post at the link above. Also very interesting are the comments and questions posed for the two guests, available at the link for the free podcast of the program.
A good roundup post of mainstream news articles by Amy Wilson on the VA Homeschoolers site, titled Positive Press for Homeschooling:
It seems that the back-to-school season has inspired some recent media coverage of homeschooling. “Not everyone is going back to school” is the basic theme that VaHomeschoolers has noticed, accompanied by a human-interest angle that dispels stereotypes of homeschoolers as isolationists on society’s fringes and portrays us as a cross-section of the general American population that has chosen a different educational approach. Since VaHomeschoolers’ mission is to serve Virginia’s diverse homeschooling population, which includes families of all ethnic and national backgrounds, religious beliefs, and educational styles, we are pleased to see reporters for local and national media outlets portraying the diversity of the homeschooling community in their coverage.
Amy shares links to recent articles from CNN, MSNBC, and NBC News at the link above.
A couple more articles on the continued growth of homeschooling:
Homeschooling a growing trend
From doctors and dentists to teachers, many professions are represented among the parents who homeschool children. For parents who own a business, homeschooling allows children to help out with the business while still receiving an education, she said.
Latimer said she has never heard of a student who regrets not attending a public school.
Unschooler Joe Sullivan says, “When you have a system of telling other people always what to do and how to do it and what is necessary, you’re not going to foster in the population the ability to decide that for themselves and to make better choices in the future.”
An article in the Northern Virginia Daily titled Religious exemption criticized and subtitled Homeschooling group objects to modified policy, lack of say:
FRONT ROYAL — Homeschooling advocates on Thursday appealed to the Warren County School Board to void an amended religious exemption policy approved in July.
The School Board voted 4-1 in July to approve a modified regulation and policy to excuse pupils from mandatory school attendance based on a draft consensus policy.
In June, the School Board held a first reading of a regulation requiring a sworn release form from parents to receive a religious exemption.
The draft regulation also included the option of submitting a letter describing religious beliefs.
Continue reading the entire article at the link above.