‘Tebow Bill’ for homeschooler sports access advances

A House Education subcommittee meeting was overflowing this morning in the General Assembly as homeschoolers crowded in to show support for Delegate Rob Bell’s (R-58th House) HB 947 advocating that homeschool students be allowed access to sports programs in Virginia public schools.

Affectionately known as the “Tebow Bill,” it was named after Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow who was homeschooled, played high school sports in Florida, led the University of Florida Gators to two championships, won the Heisman Trophy, and went on to become the wildly popular quarterback in the NFL.

On a vote of 6-2, HB 947 now goes to the full Education Committee.

The Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV) has been tracking this bill and wrote:

The legislation, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville), would break down barriers that prevent home school students from playing public high school sports by prohibiting localities from joining the Virginia High School League, a pseudo-state/private entity that regulates public school sports. Under the provisions of the measure, localities would not be able to contract with VHSL if they don’t allow home school students to participate. Half the states in the nation have some type of measure that provides opportunities to home school students to participate in public school sports.

A large crowd of home school families packed the subcommittee room at 7:30 am to support the bill, some of which traveled from long distances, with two impressive home school students testifying in support. The Family Foundation testified in support of the bill, as did representatives of home school associations. Governor Bob McDonnell supports the proposal, which is on his education reform agenda.

As usual, the education establishment lined up in opposition, complaining that the VHSL cannot ensure the “academic progress” of home school students. Instead of seeking to find ways to make the measure work, the VEA and VHSL have worked for years to deny home school students, members of our community and taxpaying families, from participating in athletics.

The next hearing of the bill may be Monday, January 30.

Cross-posted at LynnRMitchell.com