New Amendments to Arkansas Bill SB774

I have been following SB774 also known as the “Tim Tebow” bill. This bill, if passed, will allow Arkansas homeschoolers to participate in public school sports and activities. Right now, homeschoolers cannot participate in public school sports or any activity governed by the Arkansas Athletic Association.

Amendment number 1 was withdrawn on March 16, 2011. Amendment number 2 was adopted, read and reported as correctly engrossed and sent back to the Education Committee.

I have an issue with amendment number 2. It changed the wording on page 2, line 36 to the following:

“Demonstrate educational progress by scoring at grade-level or above on a norm-referenced standardized test in mathematics, English, science and social studies, each semester that the student participates in an interscholastic activity;”

 

The above wording could mean that homeschoolers who want to participate in sports on a public school team will be subject to standardized testing every semester that they want to participate in sports. Additionally, the bill requires testing in subjects other than math and English, something that public school kids are not subjected to.

I think that this is putting way too much regulation on homeschoolers. Currently homeschoolers in grades 3 through 9 take standardized tests in math and English. The state of Arkansas pays for this testing. If homeschoolers are supposed to test every semester if their kids want to participate in interscholastic activities then the state should pay for the additional testing and public school students should have to be subjected to the same requirements.

Let me know what you think
–Lynda

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Posted on 20 March '11 by , under Arkansas homeschool requirements, Homeschool Politics, Homeschooling through high school, Politics, Testing.

4 Comments to “New Amendments to Arkansas Bill SB774”

#1 Posted by Cindy D. (25.03.11 at 11:25 )

I don’t have a problem with the testing since it only applies to home-schoolers that want to participate in public school sports, not all home-schoolers. If someone doesn’t want their child to test they don’t have to participate. I would love the opportunity for my home-schooler to participate in the acitivties with pay for with our taxes yet still be able to teach the Christian curriculuum important to us.

#2 Posted by Lynda (25.03.11 at 11:33 )

Cindy:
Thank you for your input. I understand the need for getting good legislation passed. But the new bill is requiring home school parents to test their children every semester if they wish to participate. The state already mandates we test once a year in grades 3-9. If a child tests at or above grade level once a year, why insist that they must test again next semester? For home schoolers with high school kids, they will have to pay to test. Depending on the test used, it could cost families up to $100 per year to test each child. Meanwhile, the school will get extra money for home school students who participate. Seems unfair to the home school familes to me. Plus, this testing requirement could open the door to further regulations on all homeschoolers. I liked the bill before they added amendment 2.

#3 Posted by Freeman Hunt (01.04.11 at 10:18 )

Public school students must meet GPA requirements each semester to participate in extracurricular activities. The testing requirement in the bill looks like an attempt to eliminate the appearance of unfairness in favor of homeschool students who would otherwise be exempt from academic requirements for participation. The testing requirement also eliminates the possibility that sports-focused parents of academically underachieving public school students will use homeschooling as a loophole to gain access to athletics without addressing academic issues.

With that in mind, I think it is a reasonable compromise. It only affects those who want access to public school programs, so I don’t think it opens the door to greater regulation of all homeschoolers. It is also unsurprising that dealing with public schools requires dealing with some of their regulations.

Enduring extra testing, in lieu of a public school GPA, to gain access to public school extracurricular activities seems like a great trade-off to me. As of now, there is no way for an athletically inclined homeschool student to compete at advanced levels in sports, short of abandoning homeschooling altogether and enrolling in public school. That’s a shame, especially when you think of all the wasted talent out there.

Now whether or not any students, homeschool or public school, should have to maintain certain academic standards for participation in extracurriculars is another issue altogether, but it’s one that cannot be addressed by this particular bill.

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