Thursday, January 31, 2013

House Passes, Senate Spikes Tebow Bill

Sydney Bowman, who wants to wrestle, testified to the committee today.
My buddy Valerie Garner is reporting on Facebook that the Virginia House of Delegates has passed the Tebow Bill, but the Senate has spiked it. It is the bill that would allow home-schooled kids to participate in public schools' extracurricular activities. This is a bill that has created a tempest in a teapot, one guy replying to Val's post that it was "homeschool welfare."

It is not welfare of any kind when the parents of these children pay a full share of taxes to their localities for schools and don't participate. Many have religious objections. The people I know best who home school their children believe--rightly, I'll add--that they can educate their children far better. Some of them are far better educated and prepared to teach than public school teachers.

The opposition's arguments are that home-schooled kids aren't required to adhere to a schedule and to make certain grades and there is some question of liability. I don't see where any of that--save for the liability, which could easily be solved by saying the kids are students at the school and having them pay the same fees--matters.

In any case, I don't see what the objection is here. Their dues are paid and having them on the debate team or the football team or in the choir is not going to hurt anybody (unless they beat out your kid for quarterback, I suspect) and it could benefit everybody. So many of these home school kids are an intellectual level above most of what we get in public schools and their influence would be good. The socialization offered by participating in group activities will benefit the home-schoolers and make them better citizens. Everybody benefits.

If you're just jealous of these kids, grow up and shut up. Give them the chance they deserve. They're children, for chrissakes.

(Photo:, Lynn Mitchell)


  1. Schools receive funding based on enrollment, so home schooled children would have to be "enrolled" in some manner. Second, you assert that home schooled children are superior in one way or another, and that home schoolers are better educated than their teacher counterparts. Cite figures please. This seems unlikely, especially in junior and high school, where teachers specialize. And do children in religious schools, such as madrases, temples, semenaries, and other institution really get a well rounded view of the world, considering the extreme nature of most religions?

  2. I found some figures earlier to the effect that homeschooled children do 37 percent better on standardized tests than public school children. You can find it easily enough on the 'net. I did. The well-rounded view you wish for children would come with their exposure to the public school children in the extracurricular activities. I am shocked at the bigotry I am finding with this issue. These kids have done nothing at all to offend you and all they want is to play with other kids while pursuing an education that better suits their parents. Why begrudge them. They're even paying for the privilege without getting it.

  3. This is a silly topic; parents who made the choice of homeschooling their kid actively chose for their kids to sit out of public school sports. As a former public school teacher, I am appalled to let someone say, "I don't want the public schools to educate my child, but I want my child to take advantage of the privileges afforded to public school children." It's like saying that I can borrow books (and spend other county resources) from a library where I don't have a membership card. It's my choice to not get a library card, and therefore, I rescind the benefits.

    Sport/extracurricular activities at a middle school and high school level teach students teamwork, accountability and representation. Being a member of the school community, public school athletes are proud to represent this community, and if you allow people who are not part of the school community to participate, you are basically saying athletic ability trumps community membership.

    Plus, as a teacher, most homeschooler parents I have met, homeschool their children until the curriculum becomes too tough or specialized (around 7th or 8th grade) and end up placing their child in public school or community colleges, anyways. Show me some parent (or a bunch of parents) that can teach integral calculus, AP European history, advanced Spanish, AND AP chemistry. Or, will the parents who forgo public schools and enroll their 16 year-old at a local community college expect the college to open up their sports programs as well?

    If homeschooled children would like to participate in public school sports then send them to public school. It's as simple as that.

  4. There are (at least) two reasonable points of view on this issue, Dan. I wish you could encourage more rational discussion on your blog without giving the impression that you think you're always right and anyone who disagrees with you is just struggling along with sawdust for brains.

  5. Sorry, the "the parents have paid" argument doesn't fly, if it was really valid, then even someone without children should be able to show up and use the gym, pool, or other school facilities whenever he wanted to. Sure, it would be nice to have a cafeteria plan for taxes, then I could opt out of paying for the sheriff's department and the library, since I live in town limits and don't check out any books. But it doesn't work that way, the homeschoolers opted not to take advantage of the educational offerings, so why should they get to chose to take advantage of the extracurricular goodies?

  6. Bill: I'm not here to give other people's opinions. I would not presume to do that. The opinions are mine, they are strongly held and strongly stated. You may have your opinions, as well. I don't know where you get the idea that I need to "encourage more rational discussion" on my blog. It's my blog, my opinion. You can have a blog for free and on that blog, you can say what's on your mind. I do not believe that "anyone who disagrees [with me] is struggling along with sawdust brains" but if I tried to tell every side of every issue, I'd be defeating the purpose of my blog. It's about my opinion and I give you the floor in the comments section. I won't do more than that and it should be enough.

  7. Dan, Great topic! I once again find myself on your side of this issue and I also agree with all your opinions. (how the heck did that happen?) :) Must be a cold day in hell. :) I'm also on your side of the "rational discussion" issue. That is what a blog is all about, "The opinions are mine, they are strongly held and strongly stated." ( and you know how highly opinionated I am.:) ) I find reading a persons blog helps me understand someone else s point of view, and get to know the person a little better through their views and opinions. I know we are polar opposites on most issues but I have always respected and valued your opinions!