Senate shouldn’t pass Tebow bill

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 16, 2013

A bill approved 3-2 in a Senate committee and now awaiting full Senate approval would allow home-schooled children in Alabama to play sports in public schools.

It’s known as the Tim Tebow bill after the home schooled student in Florida who played for a public school football team that won a state championship before he became a Florida Gator and later an NFL player.

Parents of home-schooled children make choices based on what they believe to be their children’s best interests. Many students who were home-schooled have excelled academically.

But in life, all choices come with consequences, and the loss of public school extra-curricular activities is one of those consequences.

The problem with this bill comes with the strict eligibility rules high school coaches must follow. How would a coach determine that a home-schooled student had met the same grade-level academic standards required of his or her public school students?

Again, the legislature has come with vague legislation that could have many unintended side effects.

If sports are opened to home-schooled students, it seems their parents could then demand that other extra-curricular activities also were available. Think band, chorus, civic and academic clubs.

Then take it one step further. Could this open the door to allow those parents also to pick and choose among academics available? To say, “I want to home school my child, but I’d like him to come to you for math?”

We respect the decisions of those who home school their children. Indeed, most are highly dedicated to their children’s academic successes.

However, we join the education establishment, and especially the Alabama High School Athletic Association, in opposing this bill.

If we say to public school players, “you must follow these rules in order to be eligible,” those rules should apply to all players. This bill makes that impossible.