As the Tim Tebow bill (HB 347/SB 2046) makes its way through the political process, many Texas families look forward to more opportunities for their home school students. Provided the bill passes, it will allow voluntary participation in all University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities. However, some have asked whether this would affect 4-H programs. 4-H is a valued program to many home schoolers. THSC recognizes this important issue and will address these concerns.
This blog post outlines the following:
- The current 4-H rules
- The impact of the Tebow Bill on 4-H rules
The Current 4-H Rules
The 2014-15 4-H Rules and Guidelines document states:
“Consistent with University Interscholastic League (U.I.L.) rules, the Texas 4-H Program has adopted a three (3) school-week waiting period upon change in status of school enrollment (i.e. from public to private or private to home or home to public or home to private, or public to public) before the 4-H member is eligible for extracurricular activity.”
This statement by itself sounds as though 4-H is somehow a subsidiary to UIL; thus causing concerns that the rules will be affected by the passage of the Tim Tebow bill. However, this is meant as an explanation or a comparison of UIL and 4-H rules.
4-H is not, in any way, under the authority of UIL. In fact, 4-H is a nationally recognized organization founded in 1902, whereas UIL is a Texas program not founded until 11 years later. While it is true that 4-H does have to comply with “no pass, no play” rules in order to qualify as an official public school extracurricular activity in Texas, “no pass, no play” is a state law with which all such organizations must comply, and is not a rule imposed by UIL on 4-H. This state law applies the same with or without the Tebow bill.
From the 2014-15 UIL Guidelines for Participation (italics added for emphasis):
“For questions related to stock shows, FFA, 4-H, FHA and other career/technical student organizations, refer to “Other Non-UIL Activities.”
The distinction is once again emphasized in the FAQ section:
“The following are frequently asked questions and answers related to organizations outside the authority of UIL, including school sponsored and non-school sponsored groups, such as FFA and 4-H.”
The Impact of the Tebow Bill on 4-H Rules
The Tebow Bill’s purpose is to increase opportunities for Texas home school families, however if the bill negatively impacted a program as valued as the 4-H program, THSC would not endorse and promote such a policy.
Dr. Chris Boleman, the 4-H program director, said regarding the Tim Tebow bill:
“We are aware of the legislation and will continue to do everything we can to provide opportunities for all students to be active in 4-H. 4-H is a separate entity from UIL and unlike UIL, 4-H is available to all students public, private and homeschool. We do not anticipate any rule changes based on this legislation.”
4-H and UIL are entirely separate entities. While 4-H does have one policy that is similar to UIL, neither has any legally binding authority over the other. Thus the Tim Tebow bill, which is exclusive to UIL participation rules, will have no effect on families involved in 4-H.
Since 1986, THSC has fought to Keep Texas Families Free. You can rest assured; THSC will stand by members to continue protecting the rights of Texas home school families. Do you support Keeping Texas Families Free?