Texas Senate Bill 640 passed by a vote of 23-8 on Wednesday to allow home-schooled students to participate in University Interscholastic League sports.
The bill would end a ban on home-schooled students from participating in extracurricular activities with public school programs.
The bill was filed by Sen. Van Taylor, R-Plano, and is named after the Heisman Trophy winner, “Tim Tebow,” who was home-schooled but was allowed competed with public-school programs in Florida.
In Texas, home school families are not permitted to participate in UIL extracurricular programs through the public school district of their residency. Advocates of the bill say that even though home school families pay taxes that support those programs.
According to official state estimates Texas has about 350,000 children who are home-schooled.
The Tim Tebow Bill references a definition of “home school” that was written into Chapter 29.916 of the education code six years ago. Texas law already distinguishes between home schools and traditional private schools in several sections, and no increased regulations for home-schoolers have arisen as a result.
Twenty-seven other states, both high- and low-regulation, already allow home school students to participate in public school interscholastic activities. None of those 27 states have seen increased regulation as a result of their Tim Tebow laws.
The bill previously failed in 2013 but was brought back in 2016. The bill must pass the House of Representatives before it becomes law. State Representative James Frank, R–Wichita Falls, filed the companion bill, House Bill 1323.