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'Tebow Bill' Up for Vote. What Do You Think?

Legislation aims to permit home-schooled children to participate in local school sports.

The Virginia House of Delegates is preparing to vote on a bill that would require public schools to allow the participation of home-schooled students before joining any organization that governs interscholastic programs.

The Washington Post posted a story about the legislation — gaining attention at “the Tebow bill” after Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow— as well as a feature. Tebow was home-schooled, but participated in local high school sports, which is allowed in Florida.

Three members of Loudoun's delegation to the General Assembly are on the House Education Committee that supported the bill and sent it to the full chamber floor. Dels. Thomas A. "Tag" Greason (R-32) and James M. LeMunyon (R-67) supported the bill, while Del. Thomas Davis Rust (R-86) voted against it.

In addition, Dels. J. Randall "Randy" Minchew (R-10) and David I. Ramadan (R-87) are chief co-patrons of the bill.

As currently amended, the bill would expire in 2017. What do you think the proposed legislation? Submit your comments below and vote in the poll.

House Bill 947:

Nonpublic school students; participation in interscholastic programs. Prohibits public schools from joining an organization governing interscholastic programs that does not deem eligible for participation a student who (i) is receiving home instruction, (ii) has demonstrated evidence of progress for two years, (iii) is entitled to free tuition in a public school, (iv) has not reached the age of 19 by August 1 of the current school year, (v) is an amateur who receives no compensation, but participates solely for the educational, physical, mental, and social benefits of the activity, (vi) complies with all disciplinary rules applicable to all public high school athletes, and (vii) complies with all other rules governing awards, all-star games, parental consents, and physical examinations applicable to all high school athletes. The bill allows such students to be charged reasonable fees for participation.

An amendment adds the following language after line 28, introduced:
2. That the provisions of this act shall expire on June 30, 2017

Beth Murray February 06, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I think the legislation will pass and given the fact that the home schooling families pay taxes think that they are entitled to a public school education. I just don’t think it should be an a la carte choice. What’s to keep these families from saying, “I want my daughter to take sewing but not English or Math?”
Francesca Contento February 07, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Yes, they should be allowed to participate in interscholastic sports and programs. As I understand it, these would be programs that cannot be offered through homeschooling -- such as team sports, marching band, home economics, etc. I have known some home schooled students and they generally are taught just the basic academics (reading, writing, math, science, history). Foreign languages should be taught by experts not by parents who may not be fluent in the language. And team sports allows them to play with other children, build social skills and not be so isolated from the rest of the population. Let's hope this passes in Virginia so Maryland can follow in line too!
CityGirlinBurbs February 07, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Foreign languages in Loudoun county school are not all taught by native speakers. If it's a matter of parents paying taxes, why not also let private school students play on public school teams. Some of the smaller private schools cannot field a full football team. If you decide to home school your child, you know that you are somewhat isolating them. But that's your choice.
MB Pittinger February 07, 2012 at 12:26 PM
No, they should not be allowed to participate. There should not be 2 different eligibility standards for student athletes. Student-athletes that attend public schools are required to have passed 5 classes the prior semester and to be currently enrolled in 5 classes --- are school just supposed to take mom & dad's word that a homeschooler meets this requirement. Student-athletes in public schools are also required to attend school and be there on-time in order to participate in games/practices that day. There should not be 2 different eligibility standards for student athletes. If you want to play for the name on the front of the uniform - you need to attend the school. And folks whose kids are no longer in school or who don't have kids also pay taxes that go to support the schools, it's part of life. If your child wants to play high school sports - then attend the high school.
GhostRider February 08, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Schools will not "just supposed to take mom & dad's word that a homeschooler meets the requirement" because the bill itself states that: "DEMONSTRATED evidence of progress for two years," is required. "And folks whose kids are no longer in school or who don't have kids also pay taxes that go to the schools..." True. And those kids were given access to all the benefits (such as playing sports) of the school they were eligible for when they were "in school." If those who don't have kids were to have them, their kids would also have access to the all the benefits of the school they would be eligible for. Meanwhile, those kids whose parents pay taxes for the schools (just like everyone else) but use a different method of schooling, are not eligible (as they would be otherwise) to receive the benefits being payed for. Either allow them access to the benefits of the school, or give them back the portion of their taxes that are going to support something they are barred from using. Just because something is currently "part of life" does not make it right or acceptable.
mom of 4 February 09, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I have 4 public school students. I could care less if home schoolers join the team. However, there will need to be a lot of rule changes to ensure that the playing field is level. For example, my kids have to be in school by 9:15 if they want to participate in that day’s athletics. Granted, most home schoolers probably are working by 9:00, but how do we prove that? Just cuz mom said so? What if the home schooler wants to sleep in so that they can be their best for that day’s athletic event? Yes, I know that a lot of parents are ethical and would say no, but there are also the unethical ones. What about exams or projects? A home schooled kid has the liberty of having an exam/project scheduled for a non-important athletic event day. Would a public school kid get the same advantage? How about maintaining a certain GPA? Home schoolers state that they are able to prove that they are keeping up with their public school peers by their results on certain nationwide exams, which are once a year. Ok, then the public school kids should get the same right, regardless of how they did on their grades in the last marking period (not an issue with my kids). A lot of kids do well on standardized exams, but are not big fans of homework/projects/exams, and their GPA reflects that. All I’m saying is fine, allow home schooled kids to play, but make sure the rules are applied equally to both public schooled kids and the home schooled ones.

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