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Votes

Editorials: Access to Activities for Home Schoolers; Action in Richmond; Changes in Gun Laws

Access for Home Schoolers to School Activities

Families who home-school their children in this area take a burden off crowded schools, and off taxpayers who pay on average between $12,000 and $16,000 per year per child in school depending on where in Northern Virginia.

There is no reason to deny students who live within a school's boundaries access to the extracurricular activities of that school. While a proposal making its way through the Virginia General Assembly would address home schoolers' access to sports, home schooled students should also be able to take some classes in school without having to be enrolled as a full-time student.

There is good reason to change the "bright white line" of student or non-student in public schools, all or nothing. Students have a variety of educational needs. Students need flexibility and often need several different educational contexts to create success.

Of course these students should be subject to all the same requirements as any other student in trying out for a spot on a team or in the school play or band.

Some local school officials have said it's not fair, homeschooled students don't have to work as hard at their studies as public school students, so they would have an unfair advantage in extracurriculars. First, many homeschoolers work harder than the average public school students. And second, by this reasoning, perhaps coaches should consider some sort of weighted assessment of course load when deciding who should be on the team.

Public schools should be committed to providing the best solutions for all students.


Suppressing the Vote and Other Action in Richmond

While all Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria senators voted against a bill that forces voters to provide one of a short list of identification in order to vote, the bill passed 20-to-20. Here's how: 02/06/12 Passed Senate (20-Y 20-N); 02/06/12 Senate: Chair votes Yes

Senators George Barker, Adam Ebbin, Barbara Favola, Mark Herring, Janet Howell, Dave Marsden, Chap Petersen, Toddy Puller and Dick Saslaw voted against the bill, which "eliminates the provision that allows a voter to sign a sworn statement that he is the named registered voter he claims to be in lieu of showing identification." Instead such a voter must cast a provisional ballot if he cannot provide a required form of identification, and provisional ballots are counted the next day when a committee determines eligibility.

A Commonwealth of Virginia voter registration card will no longer count as one of forms of identification that a voter can present to demonstrate that he is a qualified voter, but a separate bill would add concealed handgun permits to the list of acceptable forms of identification to vote.


One Gun a Month Not Enough?

Virginia's long standing law restricting gun purchases to one a month was overturned this week.

In the Senate, all Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax senators voted against the repeal. In the House of Delegates, Barbara Comstock and Tim Hugo voted in favor of eliminating the restriction. Three Republicans joined all the Democrats from our area in voting against lifting the one-gun-a-month restriction: Dave Albo, Jim LeMunyon and Tom Rust voted against the repeal along with Bob Brink, David Bulova, David Englin, Eileen Filler-Corn, Mark Herring, Mark Keam, Ken Plum, Mark Sickles, Scott Surovell and Vivian Watts.