Bill looks to allow non-public students into public school sports teams By Jacob Kositzke
A new bill would allow non-public students from private, charter or homeschooling backgrounds to participate on public schools’ sports teams.
The bill’s introduction by Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, was purposeful due to the statewide conversation on private and charter schools, Hariah Hutkowski, Thiesfeldt’s chief of staff, said.
“We thought it was an appropriate time to reveal the bill during a virtual school question and answer it in light of an individual who said she was on the school tennis team, and then attended a virtual charter school and is now unable to participate at the school tennis team,” Hutkowski said.
Kaseman said he has seen a basketball team composed of home-schooled students that went to a national competition as well as a track and field team of home-schooled students from Eau Claire competing alongside a team of WIAA students.
“Home-schoolers are resourceful and have found means for expressing themselves physically and finding sports opportunities various ways,” Kaseman said.
Kaseman said a similar Wisconsin bill was introduced in 1999 and the Badger Herald reports there was “much backlash from home-schooled students who did not want to conform to standards set by public schools or the WIAA [Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association].”
Home Education Magazine offered a long-time column – Taking Charge – by Larry and Susan Kaseman. The article below lays out many homeschooling concerns with “Tebow Bills” and other public school participation.
Why the Question of Homeschoolers’ Playing Public School Sports Affects All Homeschoolers
By Larry and Susan Kaseman
Should homeschoolers be allowed to play on public school sports teams? This question is being asked around the country, especially as the number of homeschoolers of high school age increases and as homeschooling gains wider acceptance.
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.
This column will discuss problems with changing state laws and regulations to allow homeschoolers to play public school sports. It will then show how the uncritical acceptance of media coverage of this topic can lead to loss of homeschooling freedoms. Finally, suggestions will be given for what we can do.