AUSTIN, TEXAS — Despite overwhelming support from home schoolers, the Texas legislature, and the Chair of Public Education in the House, the Tim Tebow Bill died in the House Public Education Committee during the 2017 Texas Legislative session.
SB 640 and HB 1323—known as the Tim Tebow Bill—would have allowed home school students equal access to University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities—a right that home school students in 34 states already have.
Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) has formally introduced the Tebow Bill in three consecutive legislative sessions (2013, 2015 and 2017), each time progressing closer to becoming law. Whereas in 2013, the bill was not heard in the House, in 2017 the bill passed the Texas Senate, garnered support from legislators, and was finally heard in the House. This effort was led by the THSC Watchmen, a group of home school graduate lobbyists who were at the Capitol in Austin throughout the legislative session.
THSC also commissioned a scientific poll to gauge home school support of the Tebow Bill. Conducted by Ragnar Research, Inc., the poll found that 77 percent of respondents supported the bill. Also, a petition started by a home school family in 2015 has over 5,000 signatures supporting the bill.
“It is clear that support for equal access for home schoolers is growing,” says THSC president Tim Lambert. “THSC will continue to work on this issue until Texas follows the lead of the majority of other states that empower home school parents, saving these states billions of dollars each year in education funding.”
Opposition to the bill came primarily from the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA). The association made unfounded claims that home school students accessing UIL activities would create excessive logistical problems and that home school participants would not be required to follow UIL rules. However, participants in the 34 states where home schoolers have UIL access have not experienced such problems. Also, UIL staff stated in 2013 testimony that they would not expect problems implementing such a program.
Through extensive research, THSC has discovered widespread support for the Tebow Bill among home schoolers, school officials, and even coaches. During the public hearings on the bill, 60 individuals registered in favor of the bill in the House and 32 home school parents and students gave testimony or registered in favor of the bill in person in the Senate.
Additionally, 18 dedicated individuals waited through lengthy debates on the House floor until 3:00 a.m. to make their voices heard during the public hearing. 20 more individuals sent in written testimony that was compiled by the THSC Watchmen and submitted to the committee. Those in favor included coaches of both public and home school sports, public and home school teachers, public and private school administrators, and school principals.
Ultimately, the bill fell one vote short of passing the House Committee due to a last minute position change by a member of the committee.
THSC will continue working to pass the Tim Tebow Bill in future legislative sessions, remaining committed to increasing liberties for home school families. Advocating for the home school community is central to THSC’s mission of Keeping Texas Families Free.
For Immediate Release:
Texas Home School Coalition (THSC)
Contact: Stephen Howsley
phone: (469) 759-0375