While most states allow home school students to access athletic programs in their local schools, Texas does not. Saying that those taxpaying parents should be allowed to access the extracurricular programs offered through the schools, the Texas Home School Coalition will again ask lawmakers to extend that right in the Lone Star State.
The organization is promoting the “Tim Tebow” bill, which is designed to provide “equal access” to extracurricular activities organized by the UIL to home schooled students. Tim Tebow, for whom the bill is named, was a homeschool student in Florida who participated in high school athletics thanks to a similar measure being passed in the Sunshine State in 1996 before going on to become a Heisman trophy winning quarterback at the University of Florida.
In a blog post at the organization’s website, Isaac Sommers says the legislation would ensure “parents and families do not have to choose between either academic opportunity or athletic opportunity for their children.”.
Home school parents argue that they pay the same taxes that fund these opportunities as public school parents and that preventing their children from playing is an unfair taxing scheme. In other words, taxation without participation.
More than half of the other 49 states in the nation allow home schooled students to participate in public school sports. However, the measure has stalled in the Texas House during previous legislative sessions, with the appointees of House Speaker Joe Straus keeping it from being considered on the House floor.
Activists are more optimistic about the law passing this session with several obstructionists removed from the Legislature and more allies coming in.
Ever vigilant about the possibility of creeping government involvement in homeschool activities, a few have expressed concerns over the measure opening up family education to government interference. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association’s senior counsel, Scott Woodruff, “There is not a single state in which homeschool laws were made more burdensome after homeschoolers won sports access.”