Couple supports Tebow billPublished 1:25am Wednesday, March 20, 2013
To the editor:
We are writing in response to your editorial published on March 16, 2013, entitled “Senate Shouldn’t Pass Tebow Bill.” In that column, you wrote about the recent passing of the “Tim Tebow Bill” from house committee. You posted some great concerns in the editorial, however, we want to take this opportunity to clear up those concerns for people who may not fully understand how this bill would affect the public school system.
This bill would require participating students to adhere to the same requirements as public school students concerning activity fees, standards of behavior, responsibility, performance, conduct, academic standards, and residency requirements.
If a student is taught at home in the state of Alabama, they are either in the care of a private tutor (a certified teacher) or under the cover of a church school and would be reporting to the Church School Administrator. In both cases, the State of Alabama requires that records be kept of grades and attendance for each student.
Also, cost is generally addressed during this same argument. The state of Alabama spends about $6,300 per student to educate them in the public school system. The 25,000 or more registered homeschoolers in our state actually SAVE the state somewhere around $157 million.
The reality of this situation is that nationwide, only 3 percent-5 percent of homeschooled students take advantage of these opportunities. Every public school student does not participate in a sport and neither would every homeschooler. In Alabama, this would mean approximately 750-1,250 students STATEWIDE which equates to about 1 student per school or 10 per district which is minuscule. (www.hslda.org)
You’re saying that although we have lived our lives following the rules and laws for our state, our children being unable to participate in extracurricular activities at the public school level is just a “consequence” of our decision?
It is blatantly unfair that illegal immigrants and foreign exchange students to our great country and state can enroll, technically, the day they move into a district and receive all benefits offered to any other student. This participation includes the right to extracurricular activities. Even they have more rights than our state’s very own homeschoolers.
My wife and I are lifelong, taxpaying residents of Alabama and we fully support our local public school extracurricular activities through our finances and through our attendance at events. We are both proud, public school graduates. My wife even pursued her degree in teaching at Troy University before we decided to educate our own children at home. We have been home educators for three years now and plan to continue on this path.
We in no way believe that homeschooling is right for every family, but it works for ours for many reasons. There is absolutely no vendetta in our home against public school. However, we also fully support these homeschooled children being allowed to participate in public school extracurricular activities.
If there was truly a logical reason for denying these young people an opportunity to participate, the other 22 states that already allow for their participation would give insight to these issues. The fact is, there is none. All of the states that already have this law in effect benefit from it. So that leaves us with only personal opinions on this matter. Our opinion is that homescooled students should not be punished as a consequence for a decision that isn’t theirs to make.
Andy & Charlene Griffin
Red Level, AL