The Tebow Bill

style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Our
annual debate over the so-called
"Tebow Bill" has been in full swing around these parts for a week-plus.
style="">  The bill has finally made
it through
committee in the General Assembly, passing on a full GA vote last
Thursday.  The bill
is now in a Senate committee, and
will eventually likely be put to a full vote there as well.

style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">This
is as close to passage as the Tebow
Bill has come since its first proposal in Virginia. 
About half the states currently have
comparable laws, which allow homeschooled children to play high school
at their local schools.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">I'm
opposed to the law on several
grounds.  Let's look
at it:


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">1.
Apples to (Home-schooled) Oranges
style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">
- In order to play high school sports, a
fairly long list of criteria must be met. 
That may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but,
style="">within a given school system, everyone
more or less has to abide by the same rules if everything is being run
as it
should.  People know
this means taking a
certain number of classes or getting a certain GPA to be eligible, but
it goes
beyond that.  Kids
at public schools have
to follow the same schedule as their teammates, make nice with teachers
may not like, sit through the same boring assemblies, hurry from class
to class
before the bell rings every day, and so on. 
I remember when I was in school, if you weren't in over
half your
classes on gameday, you couldn't play.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">I'm
not sure if that's still the case, but
the point is that these are all the minor facets of high school life
for which
the homeschooled student has no direct analog. 
This may seem like a small element, but it isn't.
style="">  The point of the exercise
is that this is a shared experience.
style="">  Everyone is subject to the
same rules and
oversight.  Allowing
homeschooled kids to
participate is intuitively unfair to the athletes who have to do all
"little things" that someone going to public school has to do in order
to stay
eligible.  So, in
addition to
often-voiced concerns about whether the "big" criteria (meaning
academics) are
comparable, I'm concerned about whether it's fair to ask public school
kids to
have to comply with all of the day-to-day aspects of high school life,
but have
a separate group of players who are under no such obligation.

style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">2.
Paying Taxes is Not a Golden Ticket
style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">
- This is the big one.  The
primary mentality fueling the
pro-Tebow-Bill side is, "Hey!  These
parents pay taxes!  Their
kids should be
able to play sports, too!"


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">This
is a silly line of reasoning. 


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">For
one thing, paying taxes isn't some
magical membership card that entitles
every citizen to every government service under the sun.
style="">  I think the much-repeated
example of
demanding to fly a jet for which your taxes paid isn't particularly
but consider a less-outlandish scenario . . .


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Most
revenue that's eventually used for
public education originally comes from property taxes. 
With that in mind, consider a family who
rents an apartment in the district of school X and who pays no property
tax.  Their son
plays high school football for
school X.  Now
consider my
situation.  I'm a
homeowner with a house
in the Douglas Freeman district, but I don't have any kids.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">So,
if you think that a homeschooled kid
not being able to play public-school sports is unjust on the grounds
that his
parents pay taxes, must it not also be unjust that a child whose
parents pay no
taxes is allowed to play?
style="">  And what about me?
style="">  I have no children, but I
pay more than the
average taxpayer.  What
do I get for
that?  Should I be
able to show up at the
Freeman cafeteria a couple of times a week and demand a free corn dog?


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
reason this seems ridiculous is that
the argument falls apart under scrutiny. 
In no other aspect of life is there an expectation that
the mere fact of
tax payment confers a right for one
not only to enjoy a benefit or service the government provides, but to
choose precisely how that service
will be
provided (see #3 below).


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Never
mind the fact that this line of logic
hardly accounts for the reality that many players have parents who pay
no net
tax, or that some players are wards of the state, or that some
taxpayers have
no way to access this benefit.  Not
mention the fact that, if this argument applies to sports, it should
theoretically apply to almost any individual activity at a public
school.  For
example, there's no privately-run
equivalent to Key Club that a homeschooled kid could join, right?
style="">  So, should the Key Club
have to permit
membership by non-students?


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
direct relationship between payment of
taxes and a "right" to play high school sports is one that has been
from whole cloth for the purposes of getting this bill passed.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">3.
style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">
- Nearly as important as the logical failing of the pro-Tebow-Bill
argument is
this corollary: "Just because we pull our kids out of public schools
mean our kids shouldn't be able to play on public-school sports teams!"


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Yes.
Yes it does.

style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">That's
exactly what it means.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">One
of the essences of life is the idea of opportunity
cost.  Choices
have consequences.  Public
schools (rightly) don't want to allow
outsiders to play on their sports teams. 
A parent is perfectly free to have their kids play public
school sports,
which are open to all, so long as the student lives in the district and
is of
the correct age. 


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">What
they don't get to do is say "We
reject public schools as dangerous or
heretical or immoral or incompetent or otherwise incapable of educating
child in the way we see fit, so we won't be partaking in that
educational path
. . . except on Friday nights at 7:00."


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">And
that's a good thing.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Because
not only is it perfectly reasonable
for teachers and administrators to expect only students who are
enrolled at the
school and fulfill all requirements to be allowed to participate in
sports, but
that bargain also teaches a
lesson about opportunity cost.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">If
you want the promotion at work, maybe
you can't take a bunch of Fridays off to go play golf. 
If you want a girl to marry you, maybe you
can't ignore her for weeks until you feel like seeing her again.
style="">  If you want to make your
mortgage payment
every month, maybe you can't spend thousands of dollars on rare comic


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Likewise,
if public schools are good enough
for you to play sports for them, then they're good enough for you to
with all of their requirements for doing so.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Sports
are an extracurricular
activity.  Note that
word.  Extracurricular.


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">You
don't accept the curriculum? 


style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">You
don't get the "extra." 

style="font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">I
a full-time writer and editor at VirginiaPreps for over 15 years.
style="">  I may be found at
Axis of Ego. 
Also, please "like" The Axis of Ego on
style="color: blue;">HERE.
style="">  You
can follow me on Twitter
style="color: blue;">@TheAxisOfEgo,
but I still keep my
style="color: blue;">@CRTomGarrett
handle active for sports-only news, like passing along scores, etc.
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