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Ohio Gives Homeschoolers Equal Access to Sports and Other Activities

Stealthy move by Ohio legislators will allow Ohio homeschoolers to participate in sports

by
Paula Bolyard

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July 2, 2013 - 11:21 am
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When Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the state’s $62 billiontwo-year budget into law on Sunday night, some homeschoolers were stunned to find out that tucked inside was language (3313.5312) expanding the rights of homeschooled and private school students. They will now be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in the public schools in their home districts, including high school athletics. Without debate or fanfare, legislators added an amendment in the finance committee before the final vote giving homeschoolers (and private school students whose schools do not offer a particular activity) the right to join their local public schools for extracurricular activities:

“A student who is receiving home instruction…shall be afforded, by the superintendent of the school district in which the student is entitled to attend school…the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular activity offered at the district school to which the student otherwise would be assigned during that school year.”

Rep. Dave Hall (R-Millersburg) inserted the amendment without objection. He told me on Tuesday morning that it was an open process in the finance committee rather than something slipped in at the last minute:

“I did it on the finance committee in front of many stakeholders. There was no behind the doors deal. It was basically up front. It was amended in and accepted by the committee…so we did use the process correctly.”

Hall said that his office had been working with local stakeholders in the homeschooling community in his district to draft a bill to give homeschoolers the right to participate in extracurricular activities, but saw an opportunity with the budget process. “We were reforming education on the funding side and so it was the perfect opportunity to put the amendment right into the budget.”

Hall’s Chief of Staff, Mike McGuire, who had been homeschooled and denied the opportunity to participate in high school athletics, helped move the issue: “He was a frustrated young man trying to get on the tennis team. He educated myself and many others on the issue.”

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All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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does this include middle school athletics? And other programs for middle school?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
For the purpose of this law, extracurricular activity is defined as "a pupil activity program that a school or school district operates and is not included in the school district's graded course of study." That includes activities for all grade levels.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who subsidizes who in all these arrangements? For example, if I live in Ohio and have a kid in private school and let the state bus my kid to that school, who pays for it? Just me? Just the taxpayers? A mixture of both?

For school athletics, who pays to transport my home-schooled child to those games and practices and home again? Who pays for the uniforms?

Is a home-schooled student who excels in athletics eligible for the same scholarships and whatnot as a regular public school student?

Can a home-schooled student go to the prom of the school for which he or she is competing? After all, if he/she has strong friendships with publicly-schooled team mates, would he/she be welcome at school social activities?

It seems to me these new rules have the potential of raising several challenging questions of how the rules are to be implemented.

I'm not saying I'm against the new rules either; they seem like a step-forward for home schoolers. I'm just wondering how all this will shake out.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Certainly some of the particulars will have to be worked out over the next year or so as students begin to participate. An very similar law already exists for charter school participation using the same definition of "extracurricular activity": "a pupil activity program that a school or school district operates and is not included in the school district's graded course of study." So in a way there has already been a "dry run" for this.

As for who will pay for the homeschooled kids to play on the soccer team or sing in school choir...it's the same folks who are paying for the rest of the kids on the team and the choir -- the taxpayers (including the parents of the homeschooled kids who pay taxes for the local schools and also save the districts tens of thousands of dollars each year by keeping their kids out of the schools).

A handful of homeschoolers is not going to dramatically alter the school's budget. A school is not going to have to add a second football team or a second marching band because of a massive influx of homeschooled kids.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
fwiw, Ohio has provided busing for private-school kids for years, so there isn't a built-in hostility to nonpublic schoolchildren that had to be overcome in that state.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
One caution:
The more interaction between the two camps, the greater the likelyhood that the public school systems' establishment will start inisting on interfering with the curriculums of the home-schoolers. Remember that "public schools" are now virtual "government schools," and no longer under local control.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's a worthwhile caution. You never want to see the camel get its nose under the tent.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
What about the tens of thousands of virtual school kids such as Ohio Virtual Academy? We are a public charter school- does this include us as well??
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Currently it only includes charter (community) school students in schools sponsored by school districts. But I think students in non-district sponsored online schools can make a legitimate case that the law ought to be changed to include them.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Geeeeeez... Does Kasich have to sign all those papers! This is a great step forward for Home and Private in Ohio. Dave Hall has a big "attaboy" coming from me at the next Lincoln Dinner. That sneaky Senate though... they won't support Right-To-Work and now they try to strip this out. What good is the GOP majority in that Senate doing for the platform???

Question though: Does anything in the amendment explicitly prohibit the districts from imposing "special fees" on Home or Private School athletes?

Thanks for reporting Paula!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, it prohibits districts from imposing any fees or regulations on homeschool or private school students that they do not impose on their other students. As far as I can tell it is a very well-written law. They have dotted the I's and crossed the T's.

Incidentally, I spoke to a Republican state senator today who thought the provision allowing superintendents to force attendance was still included. Oopsie. Guess he had to pass it before he found out what was in it.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
LOL

reetard union teachers gonna get mad
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's excellent news and it's about time!
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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