Updated February 9, 2017
As the Tim Tebow bill (SB 640/HB 1323) 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, a valued program to many home schoolers.
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 has caused some to wonder if 4-H is a subsidiary to UIL; thus causing concerns that the rules will be affected by the passage of the Tim Tebow bill. However, 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, not a UIL rule. This state law applies the same with or without the Tebow bill.
Dr. Chris Boleman, the 4-H program assistant director, said regarding the Tim Tebow bill:
“Texas 4-H is available to all students public, private and homeschool. We are committed to providing opportunities for all Texas youth to participate in 4-H programs. While 4-H chooses to follow UIL rules as it relates to eligibility for public school students, 4-Hand UIL are separate entities and 4-H is not bound by UIL rule changes. We are aware of the Tim Tebow bill and will monitor it. 4-H does not anticipate any rule changes for home school participation in 4-H based on this proposed legislation.”
And further, 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.”
Tebow Bill Has No Effect on 4-H Rules
The Tebow Bill’s purpose is to increase opportunities for Texas home school families. THSC would not endorse a bill that negatively impacted a program as valued as 4-H.
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?