Legislation allowing home-schooled children to participate in public school sports in Texas is causing a rift within the homeschool community.
The so-called "Tim Tebow" bill, named after the former NFL quarterback and Heisman trophy winner, would require homeschoolers to meet the same "no pass, no play" standard as public school students.
“You qualify by verifying that you're passing your classes for the first six weeks, that's done through a national norm standardized assessment which proves that you're on the proper grade level, and that's the same criteria that public schoolers have to meet during that time period,” says Jeremy Newman, director of public policy at the Texas Home School Coalition.
“There's a whole pool of talent out there that is being missed by those leagues, and also the opportunities for those students is being missed,” he says.
But homeschool mother Julie Jumes argues the legislation discriminates and actually stems from the push for school vouchers in Texas.
“It doesn't allow other private students access to the UIL, and I believe it doesn't in order to protect private school teams from losing players,” she says.
“If the standards of “no pass, no play” changes to require a test of homeschool students only, there are lots of other extracurricular groups use that TEA standard.”
Legislation already passed out of committee in the Senate, but is still pending in the House where it has died in previous sessions.