The Denver Broncos’ offseason just started, but their star quarterback Tim Tebow is already back in the news. Legislators in Virginia and several other states are considering proposals to allow homeschooled students to play high school sports at local public schools. Called Tebow laws, they are the same kind of rules that allowed their homeschooled namesake to play high school football in Florida long before he joined the NFL.
Despite — or perhaps because of — Tebow’s success, the prospect of lots of homeschoolers joining high school sports teams has the education establishment up in arms. Many opponents to Tebow laws repeat the mantra, “High school sports are a privilege, not a right.” Others fret that the logistics will be too daunting; for starters, how can you ensure homeschoolers are academically eligible to play? And after years of deriding public schools, homeschooling advocates seem shocked they’re not being greeted with open arms. The controversy surrounding Tebow laws is at once a reminder that homeschooling is too lightly regulated and a cautionary tale for those who want to broaden support for public schools.