Virginia students who are homeschooled may be granted an opportunity to play on public school sports teams under legislation being considered by a special House of Delegates education panel.
Homeschooled students already have at least some access to public school sports in 22 states. Bill sponsor Delegate Rob Bell agreed that the public schools should offer equal access and opportunity.
"High school sports, in particular, can be an avenue to college," says Bell. "It can provide scholarships to students who athletes. In rural areas, it is literally the only game in town.”
The Virginia High School League sets general rules for sports eligibility. Both the League and Delegate Jennifer McClellan said the bill does not guarantee that homeschooled students would adhere to the same behavioral and academic qualifications.
"We want a level playing field where the homeschool student doesn’t have an advantage over the public school student because they’re not held to the same standard," says McClellan.
For example, homeschooled students cannot take the Standards of Learning tests, but Bell said the state has approved other accredited tests for the students, so they should not be penalized.