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The Tim Tebow Bill: Should Homeschoolers Have the Chance to Compete in Sports?

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There’s a push to give homeschoolers a chance to compete with their public school counterparts.  And there’s a famous name tied to new legislation to level the playing field.

The Tim Tebow Act has been filed in states across the nation.  Mississippi and Virginia are the latest to kick it around.

“We want the best education we can have for our kids,” explained parent Bryant Bulter.

Bryant Butler and his wife home school their two boys and two girls. They’re not just learning by the books. They’re all active, involved in the arts and athletics.

The oldest, Cole plays football, tap dances and plays violin.

“To us, that’s an equal part of education,” said Butler. “It’s just as important as the biology. Just as important as the Latin, any of the other languages, arts. Those things that you learn outside the classroom.”

But they’re starting to see some roadblocks to access.

“What happens in this community is we have our sports stop right around 14,” described Butler. “You’ll see football stop, as far as a rec league football.”

Activities usually shift to public school settings.

“That limits our opportunities for interaction and development,” Butler noted.

That could all change if a Senate bill survives this session.

Yes, it’s labeled the “Tim Tebow Act” but it’s about giving equal access to all extra-curricular activities.  The bill’s author, Senator Joey Fillingane, points to the idea that these parents pay taxes like everyone else. He thinks their kids should have the option to compete with their peers in public schools.

28 states allow some type of equal access. Bryant Butler is pleased to see Mississippi considering the option.

“This place has got to send a message that it’s not us against them: private-versus-public-versus-homeschool,” said Butler. “It’s one big educational opportunity for the student.”

Senator Fillingane says the Mississippi High School Activities Association has been a part of the discussions.The bill specifies that district rules would still apply. They couldn’t cherry pick where to participate in activities.

In 2005, Tebow, although he was homeschooled and did not attend public school classes, played on the Nease High School football team, which won the Florida State Championship.

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