Much discussion has surfaced regarding the recently filed Tim Tebow Bill (SB 640, HB 1323), which would allow homeschool students to participate in University Interscholastic League (UIL) activities at their local public school.
A large portion of private and homeschool students use 4-H and the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) to gain access to educational and extracurricular activities. THSC recognizes the significant value these organizations provide and seeks to protect these opportunities for Texas families.
The Tebow Bill increases opportunities for Texas homeschool families who currently have limited alternatives for their children. Some families have questioned whether the Tebow Bill’s change of the UIL rules for homeschoolers could cause rules to change for homeschool students in 4-H and TMEA.
THSC has confirmed that 4-H and TMEA are not affected by the Tebow Bill.
Texas homeschool families currently participating in 4-H or TMEA are not affected by the Tebow bill because both 4-H and TMEA are separate from UIL and control their own rules. This is demonstrated by the fact that both 4-H and TMEA currently allow homeschoolers to participate whereas UIL does not.
Below is a statement from Dr. Chris Boleman, Assistant Director and State Leader for 4-H Youth Development:
“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-H and 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 homeschool participation in 4-H based on this proposed legislation.” -Feb. 6, 2017
In addition, Tebow will not affect TMEA eligibility requirements.
The eligibility requirements for TMEA are different than 4-H, namely, “Active Membership is open to any individual engaged in music education activities or any person who wishes to support music education and the purposes of the Texas Music Educators Association.”
There are no specified academic requirements and the TMEA is open to all ages, from school age to retirement age.
When asked for clarification by THSC, the TMEA explained that it makes its own eligibility rules and is privately sponsored, which is why it will not be affected by the Tim Tebow legislation that applies only to UIL events for publicly funded schools.
4-H, TMEA, and UIL are entirely separate entities. While 4-H and TMEA have their own academic and age requirements, none of these organizations has any legal authority over the other. Thus the Tim Tebow bill, which is exclusive to UIL participation rules, has no impact on 4-H or the TMEA.
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