by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
There is a bill moving through the Utah Senate that will require local school boards to issue a certificate to any child whose parent or guardian has signed an affidavit stating the child will be homeschooled.
The certificate exempts the child from attendance from public school but still allows that child to participate in state activities offered to public schooled children.
Sen. Mark Madsen sponsored the bill and says that it passed through the second reading in the Senate on Tuesday without any debate. The vote was unanimous. The vote now moves through a third reading.
Madsen says it is a simple bill that is not controversial and he believes everyone supports it.
I’m happy to see it moving easily through the Utah Senate but I’m sorry to say that not everyone in the community supports it. There have been comments on the internet and in a few editorials that make arguments against the bill.
The most common argument stems from the misconception that homeschoolers don’t pay taxes that support their public school system. I have no idea how to dispel this myth. It is almost as persistent as the one about homeschoolers not being socialized.
In an editorial the author was worried that homeschooled students who have low academic achievements will still get to participate in sports whereas those in public school must maintain a certain grade-point average to be eligible to play.
His other concern was that parents of those students with failing grades would pull their children from school under the guise of homeschooling in order to maintain their eligibility on the team.
I see where he is coming from but I think his examples are extreme and not good enough reasons to keep homeschoolers from participation. After all, we all know or have heard of teachers who fudged the numbers just a bit to make sure the star quarter back could play in the game on Friday night. So, how can we even trust that the grade-point averages are even accurate?
I personally know a family who purposely waited a year to put their child in kindergarten. Their reasoning? If they waited one year then he’d appear smarter and be bigger than his peers; making him the star athlete.
With those kinds of things taking place within the school, I don’t think the worry needs to lie with homeschoolers making the grade; which the majority goes above and beyond anyhow.
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