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FAIR PLAY Home-schoolers deserve sports opportunities

The Daily News, Bowling Green

The following editorial is republished from the Aug. 17 , Bowling Green Daily News.

The notion that those who are home-schooled or attend private schools should have the right to participate in extracurricular activities, such as sports, in their local public schools has been hotly debated in states around the country.

A bill pre-filed for the 2015 legislative session would allow Kentucky's home-schooled students to participate in local school sporting events if it is passed.

It would give those who are home-schooled or attend private schools more options in terms of playing sports, and public schools could benefit from the talent the kids bring.

Currently, there are some activities available locally for home-schoolers, including a home-school basketball team and a community sports team, but by passing this bill, many more sporting opportunities would be available.

Being home-schooled or attending a private school shouldn't preclude a child's opportunity to play sports other kids their age play at local public schools.

Those on the opposing side of this pre-filed bill argue it would be hard to determine athletic eligibility, which includes academic and attendance requirements. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association says "there seems to be no means of verifying the students' curriculum to allow for comparison of equitable academic performance to those students in public schools."

We disagree.

Parents of students who are home-schooled are required by the state to keep attendance logs and are accountable for their children's academic performance.

To say there is no means of verifying a student's curriculum is inaccurate.

In fact, students who graduate from home-schooling or private schools have their academic performance and curriculum recorded in order to receive diplomas.

Another argument in support of allowing home-schooled or private school students to play sports at local public schools is that these students' parents are paying school taxes, part of which goes to support athletic teams. This is all the more reason to allow their kids the opportunity to play.

Not all home-schooling situations are equal in performance and outcome. That is equally true of our public schools, but the reality is that the high achievers coming out of both environments are much coveted by college recruiters.

There needs to be study of and adjustments to this proposal, but students shouldn't be prevented from playing sports just because they or their parents choose to home-school them or send them to private school.

The playing field needs to be leveled in Kentucky on this issue.

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