Home school students may soon be able to play football and other sports alongside public school students in the Lone Star State. On Monday, the Texas Senate advanced Senate Bill 2046, the “Tim Tebow bill.” Named after the homeschooled and Heisman winning Florida quarterback, the legislation would allow home schooled students to compete in their local public schools’ UIL extracurricular activities. The measure has been a major goal of the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) this session.
Sponsored by State Sen. Van Taylor (R-Plano), who the THSC praised in a press release as a “strong and outspoken advocate for the homeschooling community,” the bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 26-5. Also receiving accolades were State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, whose “strong support for the bill was critical to its success in the Senate.” The legislation will now head to the Texas House, where previous efforts to pass the legislation have fallen short.
“The Texas Home School Coalition has had the overwhelming support of the Texas Senate on the issue for the last two sessions, and has high hopes for the support it expects to receive in the Texas House of Representatives, which is the bill’s last stop before going to the Governor’s desk,” the THSC stated in its press release.
29 other states in the nation currently allow home schooled students to participate in public school sports. However, the measure has stalled in previous legislative sessions, in large part due to the appointees of House Speaker Joe Straus keeping it from even being considered on the House floor. Given the House’s rather open hostility to school choice reforms and ties to liberal education groups such as Raise Your Hand Texas and the ironically named Parent PAC, it is unclear whether home school advocates will be able to muster the votes this session.