Couple supports Tebow bill

Published 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

 

 

  • andygriffin

    This is the complete UNEDITED VERSION of the letter to the editor.

    To the editor:
    We are writing in response to your editorial column 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 column, 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.

    You stated…”The problem with this bill comes with the strict eligibility rules high school coaches must follow. How would a coach determine that a home-schooled student had met the same grade-level academic standards required of his or her public school students?”

    I will now pass along what this proposal states on this issue, verbatim.

    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.

    This is a fair enough question for anyone who does not fully understand the academic recordkeeping and requirements of a student taught at home. 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. The coach could easily access a copy of these records, and could then identify whether the homeschooled student would be academically eligible to participate according to the AHSAA requirements. Florida requires that parents provide a notarized form with the students grades on the form to hold the parents accountable. This is also an avenue that Alabama could follow.

    On a related note, if you do your research, academic requirements & conduct of the student should be the least of your worries because homeschoolers consistently test higher than grade level on standardized tests. Any public school should count the homeschooled student and their parents as an asset to the school programs instead of a liability. They are getting a set of involved parents and a child who understands the privilege they are being allowed to participate in the first place and would likely not do anything to have that privilege taken away from them.

    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 $157,500,000. Typically it is a booster club that raises the most money for an athletic club, but when a homeschooled student plays, the booster club is gaining two, active members to help raise funding!

    You stated…”If sports are opened to home-schooled students, it seems their parents could then demand that other extra-curricular activities also were available. Think band, chorus, civic and academic clubs. (also) I want to home school my child, but I’d like him to come to you for math?”

    Again, I will pass along what this proposal states on this issue, verbatim.

    Such extracurricular activities include athletics, athletic teams, and band, but does not exclude other activities which local school systems open to these students.

    This clearly explains that only sports and band are included in this requirement-NOTHING ELSE. As far as leading to further activities being available, this will be left up to the local school system. Each local school system would have the sole and final decision in whether this would be open for homeschooled students.

    This is nowhere in the proposal, and not up for discussion. This has nothing to do with the teaching of the students. It is strictly based on extracurricular activities.

    The reality of this situation is that nationwide, only 3%-5% 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 stated…”…in life, all choices come with consequences, and the loss of public school extra-curricular activities is one of those consequences.”
    So 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. We happen to personally support foreign exchange programs, but students whose parents live abroad and who sometimes have never even been to America are given the right to particiapte in extracurricular activities when homeschooled families (most of whom have been upstanding, legal, tax-paying citizens of this state for decades) are excluded. (www.timtebowbill.com/answers.htm)

    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 3 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 actually benefit from it. So that leaves us with only personal opinions on this matter. Why would the public school system turn down a home educated student and their parents that are proven to be an asset to the school and community simply to “punish” their parents for not choosing public education?

    Andy & Charlene Griffin
    Red Level, AL

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  • swaylon

    I completely agree with you Mr and Mrs Griffin on the overwhelming success of home school programs available today and the right that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy sports. It is unfortunate that some are willing to give their opinion without actually doing the work of a journalist to back up their position. Just because the Athletic Association is a against it doesn’t mean that they’re right, it men’s they have an opinion just like everyone else. An opinion which is likely fueled by monetary greed rather than the “fairness” of the argument. People and, consequently, many companies don’t like change so it’s no surprise that they kick back against giving up the rights of something they’ve controlled for so long. I thought we lived in America where we are free to pursue our dreams; but apparently that is only if the AEA and the AHSAA say so.

    (Report comment)

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