Memphis’ Commercial Appeal reports the House OKs home-schoolers on public schools’ athletic teams and the bill is now waiting for the governor’s expected signature.
Tom Humphrey reports this:
The bill (SB240) requires all systems to open their athletic doors to homeschooled children.
The TSSAA, which is the governing body for school athletics, has opposed the bill. Homeschool organizations have pushed the idea for several years.
“This is just making it an even playing ground for everyone who is involved in sports,” said Kane.
In debate, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said he was concerned with setting a precedent of giving “the benefits of public schools” to those who are not enrolled in those schools. He questioned whether virtual-school students would be next and, if the Legislature enacts a voucher system, whether students with a state voucher attending a private school will be going to public schools for athletics.
I’m confused with Representative Fitzhugh’s concern. If he’s speaking of a school like the Tennessee Virtual Academy, that is a public school adhering to public school regulations. The argument can’t really be made virtual school participation in public school activities is trying to ‘have it both ways’, as homeschoolers are often accused of doing with this issue.
From the article:
Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis, said the bill will erode local school board authority in favor of rules developed by TSSAA, a body that “nobody elected.”
I’ve never understood how a group like the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, or the Illinois High School Association has so much power over schools’ extracurricular activities. Whatever created that middleman’s ‘necessity’ now seems to have evolved into an oftentimes huge obstacle to local public and private school events.
Representative Dunn seems to cut straight to the legislators’ duties to their citizenship. Agreeing or disagreeing with the issue, the perspective on his responsibilities are refreshing.
“I think we’re here (as legislators) to help kids get benefits,” Dunn said. “If they can benefit, why would we deny them?”
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