08/06/14 – Commissioner’s Response to Home School Proposal

August 6, 2014 2014-2015 News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 6, 2014

Commissioner’s Response to Home School Proposal

“Following the announcement of the bill introduced by Representative Stan Lee (R-Lexington) on Tuesday, our office has received a number of phone calls and emails from media members seeking comment. While this bill was originally reported as a measure to allow home schooled children to play athletics at the middle and high school level, the actual details are much more impactful to education-based athletics and its impact much more pervasive on our member schools. As it is currently drafted, the bill would fundamentally alter high school athletics in the state, as it would allow all nonpublic school student-athletes to attend a nonpublic school and yet compete for public schools at their discretion, if the school in which they are attending (including home school) didn’t offer a specific extracurricular activity.

This proposed act is particularly different from past acts, as it appears to offer a blanket opportunity for any nonpublic school to have its students participate in school-based sports at another school. For example, a strict read would appear to allow a student at Sayre to participate in football in their district of residence. This is much more than just a home school proposal. It should also be noted, that KHSAA guidelines only apply to high school students. Situations involving middle school students are decided at the local level.

As Representative Lee stated in his public comments, there is ample time before this bill begins to work its way through consideration and the legislative process. We certainly look forward to and welcome the discussion of this topic with Rep. Lee and all other members of the General Assembly, as well as our constituents and the KHSAA Board of Control, as we all work together for what is best for students in our Commonwealth.”

-Julian Tackett
KHSAA Commissioner

  

Background and General Information on Previously Reviewed Proposals Concerning Home Schooled Students and Education-Based Athletics

As the entity designated by the Kentucky General Assembly and the Kentucky Board of Education to manage high school athletics in Kentucky, it is the KHSAA’s responsibility to support the wishes of its 277 member schools, the representatives of which have emphatically been against similar proposals in the past. There are numerous specific challenges and concerns that arise by allowing home schooled children to compete that have been identified by the member schools in the past, some of which have included:

  • The main disconnect (between enrolled and non-traditional students) is academic accountability. There seems to be no means of verifying the student’s curriculum to allow for comparison of equitable academic performance to those students in public schools. This extends not only to grade awarding concerns, but the requirements for a student to be enrolled full-time (four hours per day) of the six hour day for instruction;
  • A lack of any state required certification or requirements for home school instructors (compared to requirements for public school teachers);
  • Participating in high school sports is a privilege which is afforded to those students who regularly attend the school and enroll in the academic curriculum. Other community based participation opportunities are available for the general citizenry, but this participation is expected to be education and school based;
  • The ability of students failing to meet the academic standards and requirements of public schools to withdraw from that school and be immediately eligible simply by being enrolled in home school;
  • The financial aspects of the public school being required to manage the personnel and facilities for competition without receiving the state appropriation for those students;
  • Schools covering the expenses of a student who is not paying the full cost of education to attend;
  • The displacement of an otherwise eligible public school student, who has earned their time to participate, by a non-enrolled student;
  • The potential liability and risk of back-and-forth travel to both practices and contests;
  • The potential for a student-athlete to gain a competitive edge on another student athlete. It is possible that a home schooled student is spending the whole day in pursuit of learning or he/she could be on the golf course gaining an advantage on the enrolled student;
  • Concerns about the inclusion of an accurate representation of home school athletes in the enrollment counts when considering enrollment based classified sports such as track and football;
  • The argument that in allowing this type of participation, these entities appear to want the best of both worlds, with the membership traditionally forming the general consensus that if they (the parents and students) don’t want the academics, they don’t get the athletics.

– KHSAA –

About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 277 member schools both public and private. The KHSAA sanctions 43 state championships in 13 sports and 4 sport activities, licenses and trains over 4,000 officials, provides catastrophic insurance for its more than 70,000 member school student-athletes, as well as overseeing coaching education and sports safety programs.