The homeschool sports access bill in Virginia has gained a LOT of media attention, today even that of the New York Times. No kidding. NYT mostly gets it right, though it falls into the trap of treating the Homeschool Legal Defense Association as an authority on the issue (the name sounds right, doesn’t it? “Legal Defense”?), and it fails to examine the claims of the Homeschool Sports Network, which makes it sound like it has a team ready to serve my kid where we lived in southern Virginia and all other parts of Virginia, which it most certainly does not.
The number of media mistakes in the coverage of the so called “Tebow Bill” – and I am not referring specifically to NYT here – has been astonishing. We have seen reporters provide wrong fact after wrong fact after wrong fact – on top of unchallenged quotes where people interviewed in the stories make misstatements that are presented as factual, when sometimes something as simple as a reporter reading the bill that is before the General Assembly, or asking the patron of the bill, or asking someone with The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, would reveal that the person has basic information wrong but is continuing to speak authoritatively on the issue.
The homeschooler in me cringes, but the journalist and journalism prof in me nearly dies.
It’s all worthy of a good old fashioned fisking, but time is tight.
Well anyway, you can read the New York Times story here.
And you can read a refreshing editorial from Fredericksburg.com.
And if you google “Virginia homeschool sports access,” you can read about a zillion other articles. But remember, a lot of what’s been written doesn’t get it right. Some are not even close. Just don’t get me started on the portrayal of homeschoolers. (I have to go unlock the basement so my child can come out and get some socialization and/or proceed to study for 20 hours a day so he can be brilliant and unfairly compete academically with school kids who don’t have time to study that much — or study not at all so he can be an academic failure who will be an unemployable lifelong drain on taxpayers and unfairly compete on the athletic field with school kids who don’t have time to practice their sport that much).
You’ve heard of Politifact? I think we need HomeschoolaFact (Copyright February 8, 2012. No. Really.)
If you want to know the reasons many homeschoolers support sports access, go straight to the authority, The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, aka VaHomeschoolers. It will be a while before I get that HomeschoolaFact site up and running, but you can depend on VaHomeschoolers until I do.