Tim Tebow – Collin Klein Bill Filed

We spent the better part of this week in Austin working with legislators on key issues important to the home school community in Texas. A week ago today State Representative Harold Dutton (D) of Houston filed HB 1374, which would allow home school students to participate in UIL activities in the school in whose district they reside.

UIL was created in 1913 for all Texas students. In 1915 eligibility was restricted to white, public school students. According to testimony in the Leeper vs. Arlington ISD case, at this time, 80% of the students in Texas were home schooled. Although minority students were allowed to participate in UIL beginning in 1967, home school students are still excluded.

We are referring to this legislation as the “Tim Tebow bill,” since he was a home schooled student who played with a public school team in Florida and later earned a scholarship to the University of Florida.  Once at the University of Florida, he won a Heisman Trophy in 2007 and now plays in the NFL.

Collin Klein, Heisman Trophy candidate last year from Kansas State in the Big 12, was also a home school student who played football on a public school team in Colorado.

We are very close to having a Senate sponsor for the same language as HB 1374 in the Texas Senate. While a bill has been filed in the Senate (SB 573) that would allow private schools to take part in UIL in a limited way, it does not specifically include home schools.

This bill is essentially the same language as the Arizona law that has been in place in that state for almost ten years. It states that students who live in the district can participate, but students cannot withdraw from a public school and compete as a home school student in the same school year. It also requires parents to assure each reporting period that the student is passing their classes.

This legislation is simply allowing home schoolers the option to compete in UIL activities. Home schoolers in highly populated areas who have access to a well-organized, successful home school league would have less of an incentive to join UIL. On the other hand, home schoolers in rural areas have limited opportunities to compete in athletic sporting events. The UIL legislation would enable such home schoolers to compete in athletic sports that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

We were very pleased with initial discussions with members of both the House Public Education Committee as well as members of the Education Committee in the Texas Senate. Stay tuned as we move forward on what could be a momentous decision by the Texas legislature. This is an issue that THSC has been working on for almost twenty years.

We continue to work diligently to preserve the freedom of Texas parents to home school. The only way we, as home schoolers, can truly keep ourselves free of regulation is to vigilantly oppose any regulation presented every time the Texas legislature is in session. Each legislative session, THSC leads the battle against any regulation of home schooling and parental rights. We would not support this bill if we believed for a moment that it would jeopardize our precious rights.

 

Comments

  1. DarlaG says

    Tim, would this bill relate only to sports, or would music programs be included? My talented cellist is coming home for high school next year. The only hole in her curricula: a real, competitive, daily orchestra. She has been with a great teacher in middle school these past three years and would love to continue with only orchestra at the local high school. At this time, that is blocked, and besides her weekly private lessons, our only good option is the local city youth symphony, which she’ll be ready for in another year, just not now.

  2. April says

    I’m praying that this will pass. Thank you for all your work on our behalf. What a tremendous breakthrough this would be for homeschoolers!

    • Tim Lambert says

      Not at this point although there are also bills in the House and Senate that would make that possible as well, but they don’t include home schools.

  3. Sheila Peralta says

    This would be wonderful. Living rurally my children have a lot less opportunities with sports. This would be an answer to many prayers!

    • Tim Lambert says

      If we are successful and the bill becomes law it would probably go into effect in September of this year.

      • Ginny says

        How far did it go last time…..I know you try to be as encouraging as possible…but do you really think we have a chance this year?

        • Tim Lambert says

          Last session we had a bill that was a private school bill that we supported because the supporters agreed to add the language that is in this bill when the bill got to the House. With our help, the private school bill passed the Senate and was amended with our language and passed out of the House Public Ed committee late and died on the House floor because it was the last day a bill could be heard and it was too far back on the list. That was closer than we had ever before gotten. There are no guarantees, but we both the private school bill and the home school bill have been filed in both chambers which gives us more chances.

  4. Jennifer says

    Tim, thank you so much for working on our behalf! Keep up the great work! We do live in a very rural area and this would open many doors as we make the decision to start home schooling our 5 year old this year. We are praying for all decisions and those involved in making these decisions. We appreciate you and your hard work!!

  5. Jennifer says

    Tim, if our children participated in UIL at our local public school would this require our children to use the public schools curriculum or could we still use our own?

    • Tim Lambert says

      Jennifer, home school students would continue in their courses at home with their own curriculum.

  6. Deborah Perez says

    I pray this bill will go into affect. I have 2 boys who play baseball and we will have to put the oldest into school in a year just so he can play high school ball. We have been praying for this for years. God bless!!

  7. Emily Hudson says

    Thank you so much for your diligent efforts to get this bill passed. We live in a rural area with two boys middle school to jr. high school age and know what kind of opportunities this will give our boys. We also will be diligently praying for this legislation to pass and for you and your families as well. Thanks again!

  8. Konni says

    If the bill passes, would homeschooled students be allowed to participate in UIL activities at any school in their district or just the one they would attend if they were enrolled in public school? For example, our district has many high schools. The one my children would “normally” attend is not a school I would consider for any activities; however, there are others in the district I might consider. Would provisions be made that would allow students to transfer? Thank you for clarifying.

    • Tim Lambert says

      Residency requirements would apply. UIL rules to prevent “recruiting” require that students would have to participate at the school they would attend if enrolled in the school district.

  9. Mike says

    What can I do to help? I have emailed all of my representatives and told them of my support of this bill. Is there anything else we can do to help this process. I know the both bills are in committee right now. Should I contact the chairperson of those committees?

    • Tim Lambert says

      We believe we have the votes in both the House and Senate Committees to vote these bills out. We are working now to get the Chairmen of the Education Committees to set a hearing for the bills. We’ll let you know when further action is necessary, probably when we get the hearings set.