Texas Education History
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) is a quasi governmental body established by the legislature through The University of Texas at Austin. It was organized to provide leadership and guidance to public school debate and athletic teachers and its governing body is made up of public school superintendents.
When founded in 1913, UIL originally allowed participation to all Texas students; however, it changed its policy in 1915 to exclude home school and minority participation.
Although the UIL changed its policy in 1965 to allow minorities access to the extracurricular programs, home schoolers remain excluded. Home school students are still denied access to UIL sanctioned extracurricular activities. Broad bipartisan support from Texas Lawmakers is encouraging change as evidenced by the UIL Equal Acces bill’s passage through the Texas Senate the in the 83rd and 84th Texas legislative sessions. 34 other states have passed similar measures. Texas remains behind in offering freedom to all students.
Texas, a shining example of liberty, does not allow home school students the freedom to participate in extracurricular activities in their school district where their parents pay property taxes.
The Issue of Cost
Home school participation in UIL activities would make options available to home school families who simply have no affordable or available alternatives. Families who are forced to choose between home schooling and extra curricular activities would be free to choose what is in the best interest of their own children.
Studies estimate that approximately one third of home school families are located in rural areas, which can make participation in a home school leagues or clubs difficult or impossible. If a home school group meets a long distance away, the costs and time associated with traveling to and from the meets, meetings, practices, or tournaments prohibit many families from participating. Some programs are available to families in larger cities or suburban areas, but even those are limited to students whose families can afford the added expense after taxes that already pay for similar programs.
What about community programs?
Activities are offered to the community, but they are often costly, limited, and some of them are only advertised to public school students. For some families, the desired opportunities are so expensive or hard to find they simply decide not to home school so their children can participate in programs available through UIL.
Parents should not have to decide against the education they believe is best for their kids in order for them to participate in activities their tax dollars already pay for.
The Texas Home School Coalition is drafting and sponsoring the UIL Equal Access Bill during the 85th Texas Legislature in 2017. THSC sees this as a choice of school issue for home school families and believes the decision should be the parents’, not the government’s.
This bill would open up all UIL sanctioned extracurricular activities to home school students in the state of Texas, including access to programs such as speech and debate teams, academic clubs, music programs, and sports within the public school district where home school students live.
How You Can Help
- Please sign up for our email updates so that you can stay informed on the progress of this issue and all of our priority issues this spring.
- Please comment on this post if your family has experienced trouble finding extracurricular activity options for your children or if you would like to testify in favor of this bill when it comes up for public hearings next legislative session in 2017.
- Please share this post to raise awareness of the issue. By doing this, you are helping us pass this bill as we work diligently to Keep Texas Families Free.