by Max Brantley
Sen. Gilbert Baker would never require a child to attend a public school. But he does propose to require public school districts to allow home schoolers to play sports and participate in extracurricular activities in the public school districts in which they live. He also doesn't want to let public school districts join organizations that might set rules against participation by private school or home schooled students.
I expect public school administrators will have objections, as they have across the country. Some districts have consented to home schooler participation, but only where they've been given the means to gauge the students' academic progress. Baker's bill doesn't seem to specifically allow for this.
If the home schooler adds to the number of students supervised, some are likely to argue that the child should be counted in attendance on which state reimbursement is made. But should it be full reimbursement, or partial? Administrators will argue that these activities are privileges for enrolled students, not a gift to be given to others who aren't enrolled and aren't subject to the same oversight as regular students.
Baker can wave Tim Tebow's name all he wants, but this is an issue that defies sloganeering.
If you want to go to public school to play football and band, go to public school. What's next? Lunch? German? The newspaper? Anything but biology.