March 24, 2009 By BRIAN LYMAN/Press-Register
MONTGOMERY — A Senate committee is scheduled to consider a bill next week that would let home-schooled students participate in athletics and some other activities at public schools.
Under the bill by state Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, home-schoolers could join extracurricular activities such as teams and bands as long as they registered with the school, paid all fees and maintained academic and disciplinary standards.
State Senator Hank Erwin, whose children were homeschooled, introduced a similar bill last year and it didn’t leave committee. He’s trying again this year. From the Press-Register:
Sally Howell, executive director of the Association of Alabama School Boards, said that the bill would be unfair to public school students.
“School athletics are part of the school program, and the students participating in them meet certain academic standards and certain discipline standards,” she said. “There’s no way of ensuring that students coming from home schools meet those standards.”
How will “certain academic standards and certain discipline standards” be met in order to have homeschoolers participate in the public school programs?
Some groups that assist home-schoolers already provide activities for them. The Baldwin Christian Home Educators’ Association, which works with about 120 families, has established a traveling forensic team, and is trying to create a cross country team.
Felicia Coker, one of the coordinators of the BCHEA, said that members have different opinions on public school access. The group is neutral on Erwin’s bill.
“I understand the side of the issue that says, ‘Oh we pay taxes, and equal access, and due process,’” she said. “And then there’s the stance that a lot of people pay taxes who don’t have equal access. There’s an elderly couple down the street that pays taxes and can’t get into an art class.”