With the House of Delegates voting 59 to 39 in favor of the Tebow Bill on Wednesday, Virginia is a step closer toward forcing public schools to allow home-schoolers to play on their sports teams.
The legislation is named after Denver Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow, who was a home-schooler who got to play football at his local high school when such a law passed in Florida in 1996.
Should the Tebow Bill become law, tens of thousands of home-schoolers in Virginia will be able to play sports at their local high schools. The Tebow Bill will now be sent to the Senate.
The Tebow Bill in Virginia was introduced in 2005. It was sponsored by Delegate Robert B. Bell (R-Charlottesville), whose younger siblings were home-schooled.
They just want to try out, Bell told The Washington Post about home-schoolers. They just want a chance to participate with their friends, their neighbors, their community members.
Republicans are generally in support of the bill and Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, a Republican, has promised to sign it.
Home-school parents pay taxes like everybody else, McDonnell told the Post. It's just fair.
The Tebow Bill does have its opponents, which include some school boards and PTAs. They argue that students who receive home schooling are not required to meet the same academic criteria as public school athletes. That means, home-schooled children don't have to attend and pass five classes per day. The opponents believe that because of this, home-schoolers would end up taking team slots from the students in public schools.
The Post has reported that Delegate Eileen R. Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) has urged her colleagues to vote against the bill.
It's about fairness for all students,'' she said.