Is A Bill Really A Bill If It Doesn't Change Anything?
How would HB3293 change anything if it became law?
Disclamer: Because we oppose this type of legislation, it is not an indication that we oppose public education or our friends at the OSSAA. The fact is our Constitution offers three very distinct types of education; Public, Private, or Other Means. Home education which is privately funded and parent directed is synonymus with Other Means. Private School is privately funded but not parent directed. Public School is both publically funded and directed.
Currently, a student educated by other means is not eligible to participate in public school activities because according to OSSAA president David Jackson, they must be “lawfully enrolled in the local public school” and meet all *OSSAA requirements.
So, in order to participate, all a student educated at home currently has to do is:
Enroll in the public school
Meet the OSSAA requirements
Possibly wait up to a year before being eligible
With this bill, in order to participate in the local public school activities a student who is educated at home must:
Use the same curriculum or a curriculum comparable to that used by the local school district
Meet the applicable age and academic requirements for participation in extracurricular activities, as verified by the local school and any requirements of the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (which includes enrollment in the local school district in which the student resides)
Submit an immunization record to such school district in accordance with Section 1210.191 of Title 70 of the Oklahoma Statutes
Submit proof of health insurance if required by the board of education of the school district
To the extent any participation fees are required to be paid by a student participating in an activity
Be subject to section F where it states, “The State Board of Education promulgate rules to implement the provisions of this section.” Whatever that might be.
Possibly wait up to a year before they can actually participate
So, how does this bill change anything?
*The OSSAA is a needed and beneficial organization which governs the extra-curricular activities in most public schools. They have rules for a valid reason and it is not their rules we are opposed to. Without them there would be chaos and they are necessary for the safety and integrity of the local public schools and those participating in their activities.
Want to know what those requirements are from the OSSAA?
Here are just a few of the rules that will have to be followed from the 35 pages (of which I read every one) of the OSSAA Rules Governing Interscholastic Activities in Secondary Schools document:
Rule 1, Section 2, p.8 OSSAA Rules
“Section 2. No student shall be eligible to represent his/her school in athletics until there is on file with the principal a physical examination and parental consent certificate.”
Rule 2 - ATTENDANCE, p.8 OSSAA Rules
Daily attendance for each class period during the school day as well as the cumulative record of attendance for a semester shall be in accordance with local school district policy.
Rule 3 - SCHOLASTIC ELIGIBILITY, p.8 OSSAA Rules
OSSAA scholastic eligibility standards are required of all students engaging in co-curricular activity programs. Local school boards may make exception for only those students participating in non-competitive activities. (Board Policy)
Section 1. Semester Grades
A student must have received a passing grade in any five subjects to be *counted for graduation. (*Note: this will be to the local school and state mandated standards.)
Rule 8, Section 1, p 15 OSSAA Rules
“RULE 8 – ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING ATHLETIC ELIGIBILITY
Section 1. To be eligible to participate in athletics, the student must be residing with the student’s parents (or custodial parent or court-appointed guardian with legal custody of the student). The student must also be lawfully enrolled at a secondary school grade level (grades seven through twelve) in a member public school district or at a member school, in courses, activities, or alternative programs in which credits are being earned and appropriate academic progress is being made toward graduation, consistent with the requirements of that school and the State Department of Education. The student must also comply with all requirements established by the member public school district or the member school and by OSSAA Rules and Policies concerning enrollment, age, attendance, grades, academic progress, and conduct.”
Rule 8, Section 3, p 16 OSSAA Rules
Establishing Athletic Eligibility by Initial Participation for Students in Grades Nine Through Twelve
a. For grades nine through twelve, a student establishes eligibility at a school when the student first participates in interscholastic athletics at the ninth grade level or above.
b. Before initial participation for a member school at the ninth grade level or above is permitted, an Eligibility Record Form (or “New Student” Form) must be completed. The member school also must verify the student presently is residing with the student’s parents (or custodial parent or court-appointed guardian with legal custody of the student), and is eligible to participate under all OSSAA Rules and Policies. The member school further must review the student’s prior school records to determine whether the student has participated previously at any secondary school grade level (grades seven to twelve) and the secondary school grade levels previously attended. If, after investigation, the member school still has a question about the student’s
eligibility, the member school must contact OSSAA staff to resolve the question before allowing participation.
FAQ #8 for Rule 8, p 21 OSSAA Rules
What is the eligibility status of a student who has participated in grades 9-12 at a non-member school and then transfers to a member school?
Answer: Not eligible. When a student has established eligibility at a non-member school and then transfers to a member school, the student must sit out a year or be approved on a hardship waiver to gain eligibility. (Rule 8-6-d)
Again, what is this bill actually doing?
How is it beneficial to constitutional home educators at large or even to an individual wanting access to public school activities? If nothing has changed it raises red flags and many questions. With the inclusion of the Dept. of Education being given a requirement to add more rules in order for it to be implemented, for me, just puts that big hairy camel a little too close for comfort.
Why do we need it when it is doing nothing but adding to the rules already in place in order for a student to participate? It does not eliminate the requirement for enrollment in the public school but it does add hoops to jump through in addition to those already in place. It also will give the proverbial camel a nice cozy place to sleep inside our tent. I don't know about you, but I'm not really fond of camels and I don't like the idea of having to share my space with one.
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