Once again, Ann Althouse links to a New York Times article; this one discusses whether home-schooled students should be able to participate in their local school district's extracurricular activities. Fourteen states already require districts to let homeschoolers in, though most others leave it (correctly, I believe) as a local decision. Many homeschool advocates consider such access a "civil right" by virtue of their paying school taxes, but school districts are concerned about funding (especially in states like here in Texas, where districts only receive state funding for students who are present in class), transportation and liability issues. They also are concerned that homeschooled students may not be held to the same standards as public school students.
I've weighed in on the subject in the comments of Althouse's post, but I will summarize my main point: As an educator, it seems fairly presumptuous of these parents to think that they can replace a host of teachers all by themselves, usually without the training and experience of said teachers (and yes, we've all had some bad ones, but by and large--at least out here in suburbia--most of the ones I've run across are pretty good). That brings up another point: if these parents consider themselves to be better teachers than the ones in public schools, why don't they become teachers themselves? Share the wealth, will ya?
I really don't see this becoming very big here in Texas because of the fact that school districts don't get any state money for homeschooled kids. That means a district is not likely to allow those kids the "dessert" of marching band, athletics, etc., if they didn't eat their "dinner" of regular courses (and thus bring in the state "dinner money"). Anyone have any thoughts on this? Squawk back at me if you want.
UPDATE: The thread has continued in Althouse's comments for another entire day now, with myself and others making multiple entries. I can understand the attacks on administrators and teachers' unions, but I sure hate to read some of the things people are writing about teachers over there.