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09/19/2013

Part 1: ALERT! Stop Pending Sports Bill That Undermines Homeschooling Freedoms

Read this part first. Then for more information, see Part 2.

Please share this email with others, both homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers, and ask them to contact their Wisconsin legislators. The text is available on the WPA website under Issues and Legislation here.
Action To Take Now:
  1. Contact your Wisconsin Senator and Assembly Representative now and ask them not to co-sponsor proposed legislation LRB 2032/3 “Equal Access to Athletics and Extracurricular Activities.”
  2. Ask family and friends to call their Wisconsin Senators and Assembly Representatives.
  3. Contact Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt of Fond du Lac, the legislator proposing the bill and ask him not to introduce it. 608-266-3156 or 888-529-0052.
The Proposed Legislation: This bill affects ALL homeschoolers.
The bill would allow homeschoolers and others to play public school sports. However, new requirements would be created that homeschoolers would have to meet to qualify to play sports. Probable requirements include taking standardized tests, having curriculums approved by public school officials, verifying grade point averages, etc. Once these requirements were in place for athletes, it would be easy to apply them to all homeschoolers. This would put homeschoolers under the thumb of the DPI and/or our local school districts, exactly where we have worked very hard for the past 30 years NOT to be.
Keep Your Homeschool Free
Act now. Call even if your family doesn’t want to participate in public school sports. Because a very small but sometimes vocal minority of homeschoolers is likely to support this legislation, your doing nothing is in effect a vote in favor of the legislation.
Points To Make With Legislators
• I’m calling to remind you that Wisconsin’s homeschooling law is working well. Homeschoolers do not want any favors from the government, including the opportunity to play public school sports. We want to be independent of public schools.
• I’m calling today because Rep. Thiesfeldt is asking all legislators to co-sponsor LRB 2032/3, legislation he is proposing that would allow private school students, including homeschoolers, to play public school sports. Please ask Senator [name] or Representative [name] not to be a co-sponsor. Instead, ask them to oppose the legislation.
• New requirements would be developed and placed on homeschool athletes, such as taking standardized tests and/or having their curriculum approved by public school officials, so they meet requirements similar to those placed on public school students. Once these regulations were in place for athletes, it would be a short step to impose the new requirements on all homeschoolers, and there would be pressure to do so. Therefore, this legislation is a slippery slope affecting all homeschoolers, not just athletes.
• The legislation would authorize the DPI and a state approved athletic association such as the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) to determine what requirements homeschool athletes have to meet. It would give them authority over homeschools, something we homeschoolers have been working hard for 30 years to prevent.
• Roughly half the states allow homeschoolers to play public school sports. However, most of them had much greater state regulation of homeschooling before homeschoolers were given permission to play. Homeschoolers in those states did not have much to lose. Because Wisconsin has one of the best homeschooling laws in the country, we homeschoolers here have a lot to lose.
• Homeschoolers did not request this bill. In fact, most Wisconsin homeschoolers do not want to participate in public school activities. For example, in the 2011-2012 school year, only 231 of the total of 142,805 private school students (from both conventional private schools and homeschools) chose to take one or two courses in public schools. (The DPI statistics don’t indicate how many of the 231 students were homeschoolers.)
Rep Thiesfeldt’s explanation as to why he is introducing this legislation is that he has been thinking about it for a year and that a student in a virtual charter school said she wasn’t able to continue playing public school tennis after she transferred to a public virtual charter school. Since virtual charter schools are public schools, this arrangement should be able to be worked out without legislation, especially legislation that involves homeschoolers.
How to Contact Your Wisconsin Legislators
• Click here for contact information for your Wisconsin legislators.
• Calls are more effective than emails, but if you would prefer to email, that will still be helpful. Be sure to identify yourself as a constituent (except when contacting Rep. Thiesfeldt, unless you live in his district) and include your land address in your email.
• If you would rather not have a conversation with your legislator or an aide, call after office hours and leave a voicemail message.
Do not give the DPI, public schools, or the WIAA authority over homeschools in Wisconsin. Please act today to stop this bill from harming our good homeschooling law.
Thank you!
The WPA Board

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