The number of states proposing Tebow Bill legislation is good news for homeschool students and parents who want to see homeschoolers take part in local public high school sports teams and extracurricular activities.
What is the Tebow Bill?
The legislative bills are named after former NFL player and current professional baseball player Tim Tebow. As a quarterback at the University of Florida, he led the Gators to BCS National Championships in 2006 and 2008. He played high school football for a Christian academy after the state of Florida passed a bill allowing homeschoolers to play high school sports. (Learn more about Florida homeschooling requirements.) He later played for a public high school and led them to the state championship.
Tebow, a devout Christian and the son of missionaries, won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore in 2007, an award voted to the top college football player in the United States.
But not every state allows homeschoolers to play or take part in extracurricular activities at their local high schools. In the U.S., 31 states allow equal access by homeschoolers, either by law or with permission from the state’s interscholastic athletic association. Some of those states, however, allow individual school districts to determine whether or not they will allow homeschool students to participate.
Which States Don’t Have a Tebow Bill?
Another 12 states have proposed Tebow Bill legislation. Nine of the Top 10 states in education, ranked by National Assessment of Educational Progress, allow homeschool students to participate in public school extracurricular activities. Hawaii is the lone exception.
Other states with proposed Tebow Bill legislation include Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Missouri is offering a similar bill in Senate Bill 173.
Recently, the legislatures in both Texas and Virginia have made national news with proposed Tebow Bills in their states making the next step toward approval.
The legislative actions are necessary in order to open the door of opportunity. The bills aim to allow homeschoolers the right to more easily engage in activities that are openly recognized and celebrated in their local community.
Texas State Bill 640 (SB640) is being proposed because many homeschool students live in areas where club sports are not a viable option. Some local communities just aren’t big enough to offer many club sports opportunities.
In Virginia, House Bill 1578 (HB 1578) is being promoted by Delegate Rob Bell, a Republican who has been introducing such legislation since 2005. He successfully got Tebow bills passed by the General Assembly in 2015 and 2016, only to see them die on the desk of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who vetoed them.
Here’s How to Help
If you live in any of the states without Tebow Bill-type legislation already in place, reach out to your local state representatives and senators and let them know your feelings. Call, write, begin a petition. If providing extra opportunities for your homeschoolers is important to you, now is the time to reach out to the people who make those decisions.