For Immediate Release: Everyone wins when homeschooled students are allowed to play on public school sports teams
Canton, Ma., 01/30/2019—On January 11th, Mississippi state representative William Arnold introduced House Bill 118, granting homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs. “We urge lawmakers to support HB 118, and other efforts to grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics,” said Dr. Rachel Coleman, executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE), a national nonprofit organization that advocates for homeschooled children. “Access to public school athletics programs benefits homeschooled students without creating problems for either public schools or other students.”
While critics allege that allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics programs takes opportunities away from other students, the evidence for this is sparse. “In a 2012 survey, state athletic associations that allow homeschooled students to compete on public school teams reported that this policy had not created problems for them,” said Coleman. “Further, research suggests that homeschooled students tend to gravitate toward activities without a limit on participants, such as cross country running or tennis.”
In 2016, CRHE conducted a survey of 150 homeschool graduates’ athletics experiences and found that participants overwhelmingly believed that athletic participation was beneficial to homeschooled students (87%) and that public school athletics should be made available to homeschooled students (80%). Many participants noted that community athletics programs were often limited: “Once I reached junior high age there were no longer any community sports available,” wrote one participant; another noted that public school athletics programs “are very often the only access for students like myself who grew up in underprivileged areas.”
Currently, 30 states grant homeschooled students access to public school athletics programs, putting Connecticut in the minority. “Granting homeschooled children access to public school athletics improves homeschool outcomes,” said Coleman. “We urge Mississippi lawmakers to support the state’s homeschooled students by supporting HB 118.”
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.