Update for the week of January 23, 2012
Your FPEA Legislative Committee continues to watch the status of Florida House or Senate bills pertaining to home education as the Legislative Session in Tallahassee continues. FPEA members should be concerned about two bills being considered this session and should be prepared to take action.
The two bills are HB 1403 and SB 1704, which would create a separate athletic association to govern private schools in Florida. Here are the implications of these bills, especially for FPEA members with students competing in interscholastic sports:
- Creating separate athletic associations for public and private schools is a huge step backward for high school athletics in Florida.
- The National Federation of State High School Athletics recognizes only one athletic association for membership from each state. The Florida High School Athletic Association was designated as the NFHS member association in 1920 and will remain the designated association because it governs public school athletics in Florida.
- NFHS membership establishes uniform rules nationwide for eligibility, recruiting, amateurism, etc., which helps colleges and universities in their decisions concerning offering athletic scholarship. The vast majority of private schools would not support a separate private school athletic association because without the NFHS membership, their student-athletes’ abilities to receive college scholarships would be diminished.
- The creation of a separate athletic association would open the door to greater recruiting by both public and private schools. A separate athletic association would not ensure an equal level of enforcement of recruiting, which is the most difficult issue to control in high school athletics. In 2006, the Legislature created a task force to examine how the FHSAA could better control recruiting so as to ensure a more level playing field. Read the report here.
- If private schools want their own association, they can create it without a legislative act. Other private school athletic associations already exist in Florida.
Home education students are not in favor of forcing any private school into a private school athletic association because it will diminish the competitive level of play in private schools. Please call your representatives and ask that they not support HB 1404 and SB 1704. If you are unsure who your Representative is, go to http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find to learn who and how to make contact.
Sheryl R. Singletary, FPEA District 2 Director