It would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t heard of Tim Tebow—the former head quarterback for the University of Florida. Tebow lead his Gators to two National Championship wins and is one of the most decorated players in college football history. He now plays in the NFL for the Denver Broncos. He was also home schooled.
Can you believe it? A home schooler gets noticed by NCAA football recruiters, but how? It’s simple: Florida law allows home schoolers to participate in athletics at their local public school or at private schools that compete against public schools. Now other states—Arkansas included—are considering what is now commonly called a “Tim Tebow law.” If implemented, home school students in Arkansas would be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities at their local public school, including athletics.
You might be thinking: “Tebow’s success story is inspiring, but what justifies such an overhaul?” It’s a valid question. While Tebow does serve as an excellent example of what this law would make possible in Arkansas, there is more to the discussion. Ultimately, this is an issue of fairness for home school families.
Every Arkansas family has to pay taxes to fund our state’s public schools—even if parents decide to home school their children. Currently, home school families are paying taxes for services that they aren’t being allowed to use. This is a discrepancy that needs to be addressed. There is no reason why home schoolers shouldn’t be permitted to try out for their local public school’s extracurricular activities.
Secondly, passing a Tim Tebow law could be good for Arkansas’ schools as well. If a home school student turns out to be an extraordinary athlete or musician, he or she can help the school gain a lot of good publicity in state and national competitions. The kid gets to participate in extracurriculars, and the school gets recognition for its programs. Everybody wins.
There are probably countless Arkansas home schoolers who have a “Tim Tebow”-type dream, but are somewhat limited in how they can go about pursuing it. Ryan Mallet, our talented quarterback for the University of Arkansas, brought the Razorbacks to their first BCS bowl appearance, but what if our next star quarterback was a home schooler?
No matter how you cut it, it’s time for a Tim Tebow law in Arkansas. Whether you fall on the side of being fairer to home school taxpayers or opening the door to more opportunity for home school students, this is an idea that every Arkansan should be able to support.