McAuliffe Vetoes ‘Tebow Bill’ for Third Time

Really, Governor? Vetoed again?

On Monday Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe again vetoed — for the third year in a row — Delegate Rob Bell’s “Tebow Bill” that would allow homeschooled students accessibility to public high school sports.

The governor has, it would appear, capitulated once again to the high school sports league and teachers’ union even though homeschool parents pay every tax dollar as parents with public school students.

Florida has had its own version of the Tebow Bill for over 20 years … 29 states in all allow access to their sports programs for homeschooled students.

This was the twelfth year Bell carried the bill to the General Assembly, and in 2015, 2016, and 2017, it passed both the House and the Senate only to be shot down by McAuliffe.

So Rob Bell can fold up shop for another year, and Virginia homeschoolers can only hope he is willing to carry the bill yet a thirteenth time. There’s an election before next year, and McAuliffe will no longer be sitting in the governor’s office.

Our gratitude once again to Delegate Bell’s tenacity and dedication to try and extract a tiny bit of return for homeschoolers’ tax dollars.

Here is the press release from the governor’s office announcing his veto of HB 1578 — the Tebow Bill.

Today Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed House Bill 1578, which would open interscholastic programs in public schools to home-schooled students, without subjecting those students to the same academic or attendance standards as public school students. The Governor’s full veto statement is below:

February 20, 2017

Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1578, which prohibits public schools from joining any organization governing interscholastic programs that does not allow home-schooled students to participate. More than 300 public schools belong to the Virginia High School League (VHSL), an organization through which member schools have regulated interscholastic competition since 1913. Each year over 200,000 public school students, who satisfy the VHSL’s 13 individual eligibility requirements, participate in one or more of the league’s 27 sports and 11 academic activities.
 
Allowing home-schooled students to participate in interscholastic competitions would disrupt the level playing field Virginia’s public schools have developed over the past century. While the bill provides that home-schooled students must demonstrate evidence of progress in order to participate in interscholastic activities, the unique nature of their educational situation precludes conformity to the same standards.
 
Virginia’s public schools provide a complete package of scholastic offerings and access to extracurricular activities. Participation in athletic and academic competitions is a privilege for students who satisfy eligibility requirements. Opening participation in those competitions to individuals who are not required to satisfy the same criteria codifies academic inequality in interscholastic competition.
 
Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Sincerely,
 
Terence R. McAuliffe

For background on HB 1578, here are two articles I wrote during this year’s process:

Rob Bell’s ‘Tebow Bill’ Passes House, Now Goes To Senate
Concerns Addressed As Optimism Grows For Passage of Tebow Bill

  • dalbach

    The governor made the only decision possible. If homeschooled student athletes are not held to the same academic standards then this issue is a non-starter.

    • MD Russ

      I have always wondered how college admissions officers evaluate applications by homeschooled children, esp. since the trend now is to rely more heavily on high school grade transcripts and extracurricular activities than on SAT or ACT scores. In fact, some colleges no longer require an SAT or ACT.

      • dalbach

        I guess if you go to Liberty/Patrick Henry/Wheaton/Hillsdale/Regent it doesn’t matter.

        • MD Russ

          Ouch. Harsh words, but true. I guess that is why Patrick Henry is also the headquarters of the homeschooling defense lobby. Without homeschoolers they would have a tough time fielding a softball team.

      • Philip Lachniet

        You really should refrain comment on a subject you have no knowledge of….!

    • Philip Lachniet

      Are you talking about those 5 D’;s that yo have to get to play?

      • dalbach

        Yes. To remain eligible students athletes must pass 5 classes per semester. I guess you feel that the eligibility requirements should be tougher, maybe require a minimum grade of C. Fair enough, but off topic here.

        • Philip Lachniet

          Not really off-topic. 5 D’s is not a standard, that is pitiful. The reason is is on topic is that the Governor is lying about the level playing field issue. The real reason is control and sports is just a carrot to keep control over students and keep them in the system.

          And yes, if a student is not getting C’s they should not be playing sports, they need to be studying!

  • Hard to justify all of these potential pitfalls I see listed by opponents of this bill when it’s adopted in 29 other states. This makes little sense.

    • There are of course nuances between those 29, but even Maryland can get this right. Virginia’s been playing 2nd fiddle to Maryland since 2014′. http://www.timtebowbill.com/other-states

    • MD Russ

      I think that the larger question is why the law allows homeschooling in the first place, esp. when it is conducted by a parent who doesn’t even have a college degree, much less a teacher certificate.

      • Scott Lee

        Yeah, don’t trust parents! that would be bad! Can we please have more government to force kids into these little indoctrination centers?

        • MD Russ

          We already have laws that force parents to take their children to licensed health care providers when they are injured or sick. Parents are not required to take their children to public schools. Mine didn’t. They sent me to private schools and to parochial schools. But parents should be required to have their children educated by trained teachers with certification credentials, even if they are Catholic nuns with a ruler in their hand. It hurt like Hell when I got my palm slapped with a ruler, but I excelled later in college and in grad school. Too bad that your parents apparently didn’t opt for that.

          • Scott Lee

            Are you suggesting that I was homeschooled? That I am stupid for being home schooled or that my parents are even dumber because they taught me? You have no idea of my education but your assumptions are obvious. I guess Tim Tebow had stupid parents and so is he. Have you ever been to a home school conference? These parents are amazingly dedicated to the education of their kids! BECAUSE THEY LOVE THEM AND WANT THE BEST! They want better education for them more than your “well trained educators.” You are a solution in search of a problem. The best educated kids in America today are homeschooled. I have met them and test scores prove it! Put your efforts into making our public education system better instead of attacking loving parents who are sacrificing far more than you would ever imagine. And treat them with respect and allow them to participate in sports. Your disdain for freedom and parent/people choice is disheartening in all areas, not just schooling.

      • Philip Lachniet

        First of all – the state does not own my kids. Second of all, why don’t you look at the stats of how Homeschoolers fare on average to Public school kids on SAT’s and so forth before you start knocking parents!

        • MD Russ

          Actually, to a certain degree, the state does own your kids. If they are abused or neglected, the state has the authority to remove them and place them in foster care. Additionally, while home schooled students do score above average on SAT and ACT, so do any students who are educated in a small group environment and not in a typical 20-plus classroom. What home schooled students lack is the day-to-day interaction with peers and the experience of performing in the somewhat chaotic environment that they will encounter in college and in the work place as adults.

          • Philip Lachniet

            That is rubbish and you have no clue on Homeschool kids interaction with peers or other people. Do you know there are over 30,000 kids homeschooled in Virginia? And by the way, I can take my family anywhere I want on the planet and the State does not in any way own my kids! Just because a state can enforce laws does not mean they own you.

          • MD Russ

            I had a feeling that would light your fuze. You are too easy. No, you can’t take your kids anywhere on the planet unless you have passports and any required visas. Go down to the airport without any travel documents and try to buy a ticket to London and you’ll see what I mean. And if the state is investigating your family for abuse or neglect, you can’t even take them out of Virginia. Of course, you could put them in the car and leave, but then the state would issue a felony warrant for your arrest and probably issue an Amber Alert. I’ll bet that you would feel pretty silly being handcuffed by a state trooper on the side of the highway in front of your kids. That might not constitute ownership, but it sure sounds like it.

          • Philip Lachniet

            Light my fuze, ok.. So are you saying because I homeschool I can’t go get a passport. See, we live in a free country as long as we abide by the laws. The laws in this state allow homeschooling much to your displeasure I guess. The laws in this state also do not prohibit homeschool participation in public school sports either just so you know that fact. The only thing that make it impossible is the VHSL set up by school administrators and teachers who think that their private organization should be able to regulate who gets to play sports rather than let the citizens of each county decide what that county would like to do for the kids in that county with their tax dollars. I just wanted to make sure you were educated on the issue! Commenting without good education on the issue would be misguided.

          • MD Russ

            I never said that you couldn’t get a passport because you home school. But your reading comprehension does create some questions about the quality of the education your kids are getting. You could say that I am home schooled on the issue, LOL. BTW, the citizens of each county can’t decide anything unless the General Assembly gives them permission to do so. It is called the Dillon Rule.

            Are you always this defensive in casual discussions with strangers?

          • Philip Lachniet

            Absent the VHSL rule the counties could absolutely decide to allow homeschool students to play. They could allow them to play now but they would become immediately ineligible for VHSL standings and eligible VHSL competiton. My comprehension is just fine. You are the one who said I would have to get a passport for some reason assuming I did not have one.

          • old_redneck

            Did you skip your meds this morning?

        • viscount234

          Do they know proper grammar in regards to capitalization of words in a sentence?

      • old_redneck

        I realize anecdotal information is not worth much, however — here goes.

        I live in Northumberland County. Three families on my road homeschool their kids who range in age from 6 to 12. Not one of the parents — wife or husband — is a college grad. One of the wives has a CNA certificate from Rappahannock Community College.

        All of the use a curriculum from a bible-thumping organization that — in the words of one of the parents — “teaches my boys how to defend their faith.”

        Oh, well. Trump will make jobs for them mining coal. Or maybe they can replace the Mexican guys who run leaf blowers in Northern Virginia.

        • viscount234

          The only Jesus in my life is the guy who mows my lawn. I won’t be replacing him with a mouthbreather redneck.

        • Philip Lachniet

          John J. Dunphy, in his award winning essay, The Humanist (1983), illustrates this strategic focus, “The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: A religion of humanity — utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to carry humanist values into wherever they teach. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”

          http://www.secular-humanism.com/

  • dalbach

    The bill vetoed by the governor appeared (correct me if I am wrong) to force school divisions to allow homeschoolers access to teams. Do other states laws force access or just authorize school divisions to allow participation by homeschoolers if they choose to do so?

    • Lynn R. Mitchell

      No, nothing would be forced on school divisions if Rob Bell’s “Tebow Bill” had passed. It would then be up to each to decide if they wanted to allow homeschooled students to participate in their sports programs.

      As to the colleges our kids attend, add to that just about every other university out there (rather than just the stereotypical ones listed in a previous comment) including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, etc.

      Homeschoolers are self-starters who often study over and beyond academic requirements, and are able to concentrate on a subject of particular interest.

      One of our local homeschoolers attended and graduated from Virginia Military Institute while serving two tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

      Another earned a full scholarship in microbiology at then-MCV, now-VCU School of Medicine.

      My two kids graduated from James Madison University (computer science, creative writing) and Mary Baldwin University (business, marketing).

      Others from our local homeschool group have gone on to earn degrees from universities and colleges, open small businesses, and train for a variety of occupations.

      Athletes, including Olympic-level competitors, homeschool to spend time training: Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, competitive swimmer Katie Houff, gymnasts Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, and Gabby Douglas … young celebrities Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Selena Gomez … and many others.

      Even the Pioneer Woman who cooks the yummy meals on the Food Network homeschools her kids.

      My point being, homeschooled kids study hard and are diverse in their chosen paths after high school, just like public school kids. And some are above-average athletes who would like to have access to mainstream sports programs that are not available in the homeschool world.

      If you really want to see lots of discussion about this subject, go over to Brian Schoeneman’s Facebook page where there are 200 comments.

      • dalbach

        Did the bill not say:
        No public school shall become a member of any organization or entity whose purpose is to regulate or govern interscholastic programs that does not deem eligible for participation a student who (i) receives home instruction pursuant to § 22.1-254.1;
        .
        .
        .
        Ending with:
        Nothing in this section shall require a local school board to establish a policy permitting participation in interscholastic programs at its schools by students who reside in the school division and receive home instruction.

        So, the VHSL would be forced to comply or schools would have to drop out of the VHSL and could not join any organization that did not allow participation by homeschoolers. Very disingenuous to claim that there is no coercion here.

        • Philip Lachniet

          No coercion. It absolutely forces the VHSL to comply to give the schools the OPTION The VHSL would have no choice but comply but the schools would absolutely have the choice. The VHSL is a private organization that enforces its ideals on the public schools regarding sports. That should never happen!

          • MD Russ

            Philip,

            There are 963 public high schools in Virginia. About 300 of them belong to the VHSL, which is voluntary. Taken another way, less than one-third of all public high schools in Virginia belong to the VHSL and less than 20% of the students in all high schools play sports sanctioned by the VHSL. We’re talking about less than 6% of all high school students who play sports in Virginia fall under the rules of the VHSL.

            You should know the facts before commenting.

          • Lynn R. Mitchell

            No one is trying to mislead anyone in this.

            Bottom line: If you are *truly* interested in this legislation, I would suggest you contact Delegate Rob Bell who knows the ins and outs of the bill better than anyone. I am trying to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge but, as I would tell my children while teaching them at home, do your research.

          • MD Russ

            Lynn,

            With all due respect, I believe that my comment to Philip, above, shows that I have done my research.

            “Facts are stubborn things.” -John Adams

          • Lynn R. Mitchell

            MD, with all due respect, it was the condescending tone toward Philip that I found distasteful.

          • MD Russ

            If I might quote Philip, “You really should refrain comment on a subject you have no knowledge of….!”

            And you don’t consider that a condescending tone?

          • Philip Lachniet

            I will admit I was condescending but basically at your view of the average homeschooler and their social interaction.

            The other thing I think most have little knowledge of is the motives behind this veto and those against this bill. The true motive is control of the education of your kids and control of your kids. The reason I know this is because of the system that Virginia has set up. Virginia has “Virtual Virginia” where a student can do all classes online through Virginia’s public approved virtual courses and never set a foot in the school and still play sports for that school. Yes, they are held to a standard that the school can track. I specifically asked the VHSL if my daughter could take virtual classes through private virtual providers, provide evidence of progress and be allowed to play. These classes and private providers have been approved by the VBOA and the school system could also track progress if I provided them records. The VHSL president would have nothing to do with that and would not even entertain that idea!

          • Philip Lachniet

            And again, with the link I provided, http://virginia.educationbug.org/public-schools/.
            I believe your research is wrong. I think there are about 350 public high schools in Virginia. There may be a total of over 900 high schools but the majority are not public. Most rural counties have 1 public high school and there are 95 counties in the state. The counties I am surrounded by, that are rural, all have just 1 school, so according to your number you would have to have over-800 public high schools in the city areas of the state. Doubtful, don’t you think?.

          • Philip Lachniet

            I am not really sure what those stats have to do with the subject and I don’t think they are correct http://virginia.educationbug.org/public-schools/.

            The VHSL governs pretty much all public High School sports in Virginia and they are the ones that make homeschoolers ineligible. It does not govern MS athletics and I know that public schools in Virginia allow homeschoolers to play in MS because there are no restrictions on them.

      • viscount234

        Did Gabby Giffords attempt to join a local high school’s gymnastics team? Did either of the Williams sisters get denied a tryout for a high school team?

  • MD Russ

    Lynn,

    Re: the slam at teachers’ unions. If you were an obstetrician, would you favor unlicensed midwives delivering babies at home?

  • https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8bfe6d95029e1e94d3a75387fb0fe7388ba6082d0bb786d711c73dc5e5546994.jpg
    A tale of two Democrats. Pennsylvania’s Ed Rendell signed equal access into law and wrote, delivered, the best equal access speech you’ll ever hear. Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe rubs out homeschool children and smiles, what a manly thing I have done..

  • Barros Serrano

    More important, stricter guidelines should be enforced on home-schooling, where many parents are teaching their kids all manner of religious, racist and historically inaccurate tripe to suit their own twisted ideologies.

    The effect of home-schooling is to weaken public schools. They should not be allowed any access to or use of school facilities if they think they can replace qualified teachers and a modern equipped school with an untrained parent in a living room… this is what these delusional mostly right-wing misfits call “freedom”.

    • Philip Lachniet

      Who are you to determine if someone has twisted ideologies? What do you base your system of ideologies on? And really historical inaccuracies, the public school system is best at ignoring true history for their agendas!

  • Pingback: The Score: Brave new worlds, same nonsense - Bearing Drift()

  • Pingback: Virginia General Assembly Convenes Veto Session Wednesday - Bearing Drift()

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.