Student Well-Being

‘Tebow Bill’ Faces Opposition in Alabama, Support in Texas

By Gina Cairney — April 26, 2013 1 min read
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From guest blogger Gina Cairney

Legislators in Alabama have sponsored a “Tebow Bill”, which would make it easier for home-schooled students to participate in athletics at public schools but, the Cullman Times reports, educators are opposed to the bill.

Opponents to the bill are arguing that it “could destroy the high school athletic system,” according to the Cullman Times, while supporters say that because parents of home-schooled children pay taxes, their children should be given equal opportunities to participate in public school activities.

Cullman County Board of Education Superintendent Billy Coleman told the paper that this bill would make the public school system “like a smorgasbord for families” to pick and choose in areas they want their children to participate.

Coleman said that it’s fine for parents to home-school their children or enroll them in public school, “but you can’t pick and choose. Things like band and athletics are privileges, not rights,” he told the paper.

Alabama isn’t the only state facing opposition to the “Tebow Bill”, named after former New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who played football at a public high school in Florida despite being home-schooled.

My colleague Bryan Toporek wrote earlier this year that Virginia had, for the second straight year, failed to pass a similar bill. Opponents of that bill argued that home-schooled students can’t be held to the same eligibility standards as public school students.

In other states however, versions of the bill had better success, giving home-schooled students an opportunity to participate in public school athletics.

In Arkansas, home-schooled students in grades 7-12 are allowed to participate in public school extracurricular activities, but they’re not guaranteed a spot on a sports team.

Just yesterday, the Texas Senate approved its “Tebow Bill” on a 21-7 vote, allowing home-schooled students to participate in sports and other University Interscholastic League activities in the school district where they live, according to the Dallas Morning News.

If the House also approves the bill, the changes will go into effect in the coming school year.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.