Florida’s Tim Tebow is a big name in the homeschooling community and with college football fans. His name is also used in the legislative bill titles promoting homeschool participation/ public school extra-curricular activities in several states.
Homeschoolers seek right to play at public school Shelby County Reporter March 30, 2009 By Chris Megginson
Thousands of homeschooled students, parents and supporters will gather at the State House in Montgomery Wednesday morning in the name of Tim Tebow.
For the fourth year, the Tim Tebow Act, or Senate Bill 305, sits before the Alabama Senate education committee to allow homeschoolers the chance to try out for athletics and other extracurricular activities at their local public high school.
Many Shelby County residents plan to be a part of the discussion at Wednesday’s public hearing, which will begin at 8 a.m. in the Star Wars Room on the third floor of the State House.
This is a persistent issue for some homeschoolers. If thousands of Alabama homeschoolers do gather at the Montgomery State House, then maybe it’s become an important issue for relatively more homeschoolers.
Many other homeschoolers don’t want any connections with the public school for various reasons. One example being concerns about the persistent increased accountability demands by anti-homeschoolers. Some concerns are laid out here:
Why the Question of Homeschoolers’ Playing Public School Sports Affects All Homeschoolers
Home Education Magazine
Larry and Susan Kaseman
At first glance, having homeschoolers on public school sports teams might seem like a good idea. It would provide one more opportunity for homeschoolers, one more example of society’s acceptance of homeschooling. However, a closer look reveals that it would undermine our homeschooling freedoms. Fortunately, the vast majority of homeschoolers do not support homeschoolers’ playing public school sports, and many are opposed.
Unfortunately, the question is receiving more attention than it deserves. A few of the families who do want their children to play public school sports are strongly committed and vocal. In addition, inaccurate information on the issue has appeared in the mainstream media. And some legislators who want to help homeschoolers and gain our support (and votes) mistakenly think they can do this by introducing legislation to make it possible for homeschoolers to play public school sports.
Most interested homeschoolers have made sports happen for their kids in their communities. Some going on to achieve Olympic status. NCAA has a Homeschool Faqs site. Homeschoolers have found that where there’s a will, there is a (more independent) way.
From the AL article:
[Principal] Peoples said currently the school’s athletic director and coaches help monitor eligibility of players, and admits that because the students would not be enrolled at Chelsea, that it might create a small burden on the school to check eligibility.
“We would have to work particularly close and depend highly on their home school organization,” Peoples said. “I do want to make it clear though, that there would be no antagonism or antipathy on my part if the legislature were to allow them to participate.”
I thought it was curious to be dependent on the “home school organization” for eligibility accountability and wondered if it wasn’t an administrative misunderstanding about homeschool autonomy. If not, are homeschoolers willing to make their families accountable to a homeschool group to report to the schools?
Again, from Larry and Susan Kaseman:
…there is continuing pressure for increased state regulation of homeschooling. Once regulations are in place for homeschooling athletes, there will be strong pressure to apply them to all homeschoolers, leading to increased regulation of all homeschoolers.
How do we know this will happen? For several reasons, including the following:
- First, through no fault of our own, we homeschoolers are seen as a threat to the educational establishment, The most powerful interest groups in our society. Most of the educational establishment feels that homeschools need to be controlled and regulated and forced to become as much like conventional schools as possible.
- Second, our society does not trust parents and others who are not trained professionals or “experts.” Although homeschooling has gained some acceptance, many people still feel there may be “something fishy going on;” the government probably should check up on homeschoolers.
- Third, the general public has accepted increasing government control of public schools, most recently in the form of new educational standards and increased use of state-mandated standardized tests. Most non-homeschoolers assume the government should also oversee homeschools.
- Fourth, some school officials are telling truants, dropouts, and expelled students to homeschool, or at least suggesting it. These officials are then turning around and saying that greater regulation of homeschooling is needed because truants, dropouts, and expelled students may be escaping to homeschooling.
The fourth point has become more pervasive since the 2001 passage of the federal No Child Left Behind Act which punishes the schools financially for poor test results.
From the Shelby County article and a homeschool mom:
“I think that not only is equal access the main issue, but I think the bigger picture is for the state of Alabama, which is not traditionally a very progressive state educationally,” said Nancy Smith, Madiosn’s [sic] mother. “The (states with equal access) are very progressive states academically, and apparently its’ working for them. I think it would be one more benefit for this state to be associated with more academically oriented states to create a bridge between public school parents and children and homeschool parents and children.
Many homeschoolers wonder if it’s a bridge creating troubled waters for homeschool freedoms.