The Tim Tebow Bill: What’s Wrong With It?

To some, nothing, which is why it’s probably going to pass, if it hasn’t already, through the Senate Education Committee this morning with flying colors. I’m talking about HB1789, dubbed the Tim Tebow bill in Arkansas and in other states contemplating such legislation, because it allows home-schooled students to participate in public school athletics and interscholastic activities, which is how Tim Tebow got his start in football. But what is the real purpose of the bill? Is it to find the next Tim Tebow in Arkansas to lead the Razorbacks to the National Championship? Well, probably not. Is it to give an equal opportunity to all children to participate in everything from football to quiz bowl? Maybe. Or is it really to encourage home-schooling, since in the past home-schooling has been often discouraged and even stigmatized by the general public? Maybe I’m cynical, but I vote for the latter.

So why do I not like this bill? Well, first, I don’t agree with home-schooling in general. With few exceptions (and I realize there are a few), children who are home-schooled do not achieve the same level of education as those who attend a public or private school. I’m not just talking about ACT scores or the ability to read. I’m talking about socialization, and learning how to get along with others who are different from you. I know not all home-schooled students are sheltered, but I dare to say that some probably are, and it’s a bit of an awakening the first time they walk onto a college campus or into the workplace. Being in school at a young age teaches kids how to live in society, how to appropriately disagree with others, and how to follow rules. I realize that many home-schooled students are involved in church or community activities with peers, but we tend to go to church and live in communities with others like us. We don’t always go to school or work with others like us, because we don’t usually have that choice.

Second, I just don’t think home-schooling is necessary. Call me an optimist, but I think our public schools, at least here in Arkansas, do a pretty good job, or at least do as good of a job as an average parent at home can do. I know there are exceptions, and I realize that some students, particularly those with special needs, struggle in school but can excel at academics when taught in a more personal environment, like at home, and some students need to be home-schooled for at least a temporary period of time due to medical needs or health reasons. And there’s always the child prodigy who is home-schooled so that he or she has time to practice their violin for six hours per day so that they can go to Juilliard at age 14, but again, those are rare. In my opinion, for the average student, our public schools can do a good job, especially with a parent at home that cares and stays involved in their child’s schoolwork.

Finally, with regards to this particular bill, I just don’t think it’s fair that parents who have not supported their local public schools in the past should have the option for their child to “pick and choose”, so to speak, what part of the local schools they wish to take advantage of. There’s typically low voter turn-out and support in school board member and millage elections from parents who home-school their children or send their children to private schools. Local schools thrive with community support, and maybe this bill will result in an increase of support in general, but I don’t think it’s fair that a parent who doesn’t support their local teachers can now be able to support the local coaches.

Comments 5

  • I strongly disagree with this article. I homeschool my four children. I have never understood how placing children in a classroom with children all of the same age, is socialization? My children and I are members of a support group, we attend fieldtrips, meetings, and such regurally, and they are around people of many different ages and religions. Grandmothers, other mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and younger/older siblings of the members. I don’t know about your school, but in the 8 hours or so that I attended a day, rarely were we able to socialize. Talking and note passing were not allowed, and so the only “socialization” we had was between classes and at lunch period. My children go to museums and discuss art with their peers and parents. They go to the library and read to other children, some of which are disabled. Which is more socialized? We are not the exception to this rule.

    In the matter of academic achievement, I will quote directly from the HSLDA websie:
    “In 1990, the National Home Education Research Institute issued a report entitled “A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement.” This was a study of over 2,163 homeschooling families.

    The study found that the average scores of the homeschool students were at or above the 80th percentile in all categories. The homeschoolers’ national percentile mean was 84th for reading, 80th for language, 81st for math, 84th for science and 83rd for social studies.

    The research revealed that there was no positive correlation between state regulation of homeschools and the home-schooled students’ performance. The study compared homeschoolers in three groups of states representing various levels of regulation. Group 1 represented the most restrictive states such as Michigan; Group 2 represented slightly less restrictive states including North Dakota; and Group 3 represented unregulated states such as Texas and California. The Institute concluded:

    …no difference was found in the achievement scores of students between the three groups which represent various degrees of state regulation of home education…. It was found that students in all three regulation groups scored on the average at or above the 76th percentile in the three areas examined: total reading, total math, and total language. These findings in conjunction with others described in this section, do not support the idea that state regulation and compliance on the part of home education families assures successful student achievement.” Homeschooling children are receiving a education on par or exceeding their counterparts. All with out being exposed to the negative side of public schools. Unless you qualify drugs, sex and alcohol under “socialization”.

    On the matter of supporting the school system, you are correct, I have not attended a PTA meeting. Mostly because the school system offers little or no support for homeschooling families. I do however, support our school system by paying the same education and school taxes that everyone else does, in addition to what I pay for curricula for my own children. Homeschoolers tend to be more knowledgeable about education laws. We know how to advocate for our children out of necessity. I believe we could work together to help build a strong foundation for our children, no matter where their classrooms are located.

  • Ally Bolch did an excellent job in her response, so I won’t bother reiterating the statistics on academic achievement, not the truth about socialization. However, I felt compelled to comment on the haphazard, lackadaisical tone of this article. For example:

    “I know not all home-schooled students are sheltered, but I dare to say that some probably are” Can’t one just as easily say “I know that not all public school students are sheltered/delinquent/abused/bossy/rude/depressed/etc.”? The fact that “some” kids “probably” are something doesn’t make much of a basis for forming an across the board opinion.

    “I just don’t think home-schooling is necessary.” Really? Well I don’t think keeping a child in a classroom for 7 hours a day is necessary. I don’t think waking a 6 year old at 6:30 five days a week is necessary. The fact that Ms. Flinn does not think something is “necessary” is quite irrelevant.

    “I think our public schools, at least here in Arkansas, do a pretty good job, or at least do as good of a job as an average parent at home can do” Again, the fact that Ms. Flinn “thinks” something doesn’t make it so. It is a fact that homeschoolers out perform public schoolers, so in this case, what Ms. Flinn thinks is in fact false.

    “I just don’t think it’s fair that parents who have not supported their local public schools in the past should have the option for their child to “pick and choose”, so to speak, what part of the local schools they wish to take advantage of.” This statement is particularly irritating. We pay the same taxes as anyone else. Perhaps we don’t think it’s “fair” that we foot the bill for our kids’ education and that of others. If you think we are not entitled to the resources of our local school district, most of us would be perfectly happy to withdraw the mandatory taxes we pay and use that to cover our personal schooling costs.

    And finally,
    “There’s typically low voter turn-out and support in school board member and millage elections from parents who home-school their children or send their children to private schools.” I suspect that this statement is based on nothing other than Ms. Flinn’s assumptions. There is low voter turnout in school board and millage elections because the local municipalities intentionally schedule them during off times, when nothing else in on the ballot. They do that to suppress the vote, and it works. It is not specific to homeschool or private school parents.

    In closing, my purpose was not just to refute what Ms. Flinn wrote, the first comment did a good job of that, but to highlight the sloppy tone of the article. It read like a conversation between two people who are casually discussing something neither has researched, not like an article submitted to and published by a site concerning educational law.

    • This reads like a casual conversation because that’s exactly what it is. These are my casual thoughts and opinions that I post on my blog. I didn’t research anything. Your statistics don’t surprise me, but statistical analysis was not my intent. This is a blog post…not an article that was submitted and published. It was simply a blog post that I wrote to express my thoughts and opinions only, like every other blog post on this site. Homeschooling is a hot button issue in which everyone has a strong opinion. This is simply mine. Dispute my opinions all you like. That’s what comments on blogs are intended to do. But don’t mistake my opinions or comments for something more.

  • I may not send my children to public schools but I send my tax dollars. So, what kind of support are you speaking about? I think we live in a democratic society that gives us the right to choose. I am not against public schools but I still choose to homeschool. It gives us more free time to spend with our family and doing things we love. I support our community and will support the schools with my tax money. And, I do not receive any government support for my own cost of homeschooling. I love this law and excited about the future opportunities it offers homeschooled students.

  • I was researching cons for the Tim Tebow Law for a debate class… Hard to find one with ANY validity at all. Just all opinions. Give some facts to back up your opinion other than a very limited observation. The home school students I know ( and I have lived all over the world), can have a lengthy, educated, eye-to-eye conversations with adults. Is this not a sign of maturity and excelled socialization? HOWEVER… this article was suppose to be about the LAW… but seems only to be about homeschoolers???

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