Home-school students could be competing in UIL by next year

House Bill 547 awaits approval by the Texas Senate
Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 6:57 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - For former home-school student Elijah Snider of Wichita Falls, playing the sport he loved meant making long trips to Oklahoma City and back.

“I got super behind on school because how are you going to be doing school with all that, it was definitely difficult,” Snider said.

Right now in Texas, home-school students aren’t allowed to compete in the UIL, but that could all change if the Texas Senate passes House Bill 547. The bill would give school districts the decision to allow home-school students to compete for them.

“It’s a nice opportunity for schools to help kids if they want to and they don’t, they don’t have to,” Texas House Representative James Frank said. “It is permissive.”

And, while many turn to the thought of athletics, it also includes the UIL’s academic and fine art competitions, providing an outlet for every type of home-school student.

“Should we give kids more educational opportunities or fewer? I’m gonna say more. Should we give kids more opportunities to grow and flourish or fewer? I’m gonna say more,” longtime home-school parent Jean Hall said.

There may be many positives at first glance, but there are some concerns from school districts we reached out including funding, eligibility and insurance issues amongst other things.

“We talked about this like this is revolutionary, 35 states are already doing this,” Representative Frank said.

If passed, the hope is that home-school students like Elijah can avoid those long drives and hassles, and get the recognition they finally deserve.

“They are just as talented as some of these kids in these public schools,” Snider said.

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