Washington Secrets

Virginia Democrats block homeschoolers from public school sports teams

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Virginia,Education,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Despite paying school-funding local property taxes, Virginia Senate Democrats declared Thursday that home-schooled students are not “entitled” to play on school sports teams — just like taxpayers aren't entitled to ride on B-1 bombers.

Defending the chamber's defeat of the so-called “Tebow Bill,” Democratic Leader Sen. Dick Saslaw of Fairfax, Va., dismissed claims by homeschooling parents that paying taxes should give them access to public school teams.

“It's true that home school families pay taxes that fund our public schools, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically entitled to use those schools. Your tax dollars pay for a B-1 bomber or fire trucks, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to hop in and ride it,” Saslaw said in statement.

The dismissive tone of the Democrats was bolstered by opposition from teachers unions.

Another Democrat said that homeschooled students should be satisfied with sports programs offered by private groups.

The Republican bill would have blocked schools from participating in interscholastic programs if they did not allow homeschooled students who meet certain criteria to participate. The Senate Committee on Education & Health voted 9-6 along party lines to defeat it.

"It is not fair that a homeschooled student would not have to meet all of the same eligibility requirements to play sports that a public school student has to meet,” said Democratic Sen. John Miller of Newport News, in a statement. “There are nearly two dozen privately run organizations across the Commonwealth that give homeschoolers the opportunity to play high school level sports in addition to rec, club and traveling teams."

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.
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