Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How not to win a debate

I guess Navy football and homeschooling are the topics motivate me enough to actually post on my blog.  Here is my latest that I am sending to the editors of the Virginian Pilot:

In my experience on the debate team at Maury High School (Go Commodores!), I was taught a couple of fundamental rules when debating a topic:

1.  Give compelling reasons and facts to sway people to your view.
2.  Make sure that the facts are indeed factual and true.
3.  Ensure that the facts that you cite are relevant to the argument that you are making. 

With that in mind, let’s review the Virginian Pilot’s editorial on February 21, 2015 that was most decidedly against homeschoolers and the Tebow bill that has currently passed in both houses and is awaiting a decision from the Governor.

The article can be found at:


The editorial seems to be hung up on the fact that homeschoolers would be eligible for sports at school.  While this is true, it is a narrow view of the bill.  The bill would ALLOW not require local school districts to make all school activities open to homeschoolers.  This may surprise the Pilot but there are other extra-curricular activities besides football and basketball at high schools.  Things like debate, forensics and drama are a few that come to mind.

The editorial also seems to take umbrage with the fact that Tim Tebow shopped around to get to the best school for him to play football at and then his mother rented an apartment in that school district to make him eligible.  Review my third rule: THIS FACT IS IRRELEVANT to homeschooling.  If the Pilot is mad at people “gaming” the system so be it but this has nothing to do with homeschooling.  Anyone can shop and move into any district that they want their child to play football for.  That has nothing to do with homeschooling.  I am sure the editors at the Pilot know parents that have used Grandma’s address so little Johnny could go to a different school.  

I am failing to see the “wave of entitlement” that this bill grants homeschoolers.  If your argument is that homeschoolers will now move to school districts for their kids to play in, it’s a non-argument.  Anyone can do that.

When the Pilot is ready to give me a valid reason to be against this bill, I would encourage them to use the three rules that I learned on a Norfolk public school debate team and come up with a legitimate argument.