Family Policy Alliance of Georgia President Calls on Legislature to Pass “Tebow Bill”
Members of the committee, I thank you for the opportunity to come before you today to express my support for SB384.
Somewhere in Georgia today there is a kid who has made a decision with his parents that the best educational path for him is to take advantage of the opportunity to be homeschooled.
Maybe he had a learning disability, maybe he was very advanced in a particular subject matter that he wanted to explore in depth, perhaps there were opportunities that he could only take advantage of through homeschooling, or maybe the family simply decided homeschooling was the best route to make certain their values are reflected in his education.
Whatever the reasons, this student is also interested in sports. He may not be the best athlete, but it’s a passion, he enjoys the camaraderie, and finds it to be a valuable part of his personal development.
Today, Georgia is one of the shrinking minority of states around the country that forces this student to make a choice- pursue the educational path that he and his parents have determined is best OR reject that decision in order to participate in athletics.
This choice is not forced upon him because he has done anything wrong. He hasn’t. It isn’t about his academics. He’s doing fine in school and excelling on tests. It isn’t because of cost because his family’s tax dollars count just as much as the next family’s. And, it isn’t about protecting the public school system because 13 of the 15 highest rated public school systems in the country allow for equal access for homeschoolers.
This false choice is simply about punishing homeschooling and forcing as many kids into public school, regardless of whether that is the best route for the student, as possible. This is just wrong.
Like many of you, I would love to see this bill result in a Tim Tebow-like player getting an opportunity to play high school football, sign to play for the Dawgs, and lead them to a championship. We can hope that happens, but that isn’t what this bill is about. It isn’t even fully about sports.
This bill is about removing barriers to parents and their child making the best educational decision for their family. Those are the only people that should be involved in that decision, and it is your responsibility as elected officials to cut out as many obstacles that muddy the waters.
Today, I am obviously speaking to you as the Executive Director of an organization that supports school choice, parental rights, and wants to see families empowered. But, I am also speaking to you today as a father.
I was not homeschooled, and, as such, I enjoyed the opportunities to play sports throughout my life. Both football and basketball were a major part of who I was as a child and a teenager, and, if I’m being honest, who I am today.
With three sons of my own now- ages 3, 2, and just born, I cannot imagine the choice between deciding whether to homeschool my boys as we plan to and believe is the best thing for our family or putting them in school so they can play sports, enjoy that opportunity, and, Lord willing, be the third generation of Muzios to play college athletics.
No parent should have to make that choice. They’ve paid the same tax dollars as everyone else, and, every parent- whether they homeschool or not- should be applauded for being intentional about their child’s educational choices, not discouraged from doing so.
I believe this legislative body should promote freedom, empower families, and encourage every student to pursue their best results. That’s what this bill is about. It’s about choice, preserving options for qualified students, and joining the growing majority of states that are doing the right thing. In fact, every state that touches ours has a Tebow law in place.
I don’t want Georgia to be left behind. I don’t want to see my state continue to punish those who exercise their school choice rights. I don’t want parents and students to continue to be forced into these difficult and gut-wrenching decisions, and, selfishly, I don’t want that for myself. I humbly ask you to support this legislation today.
Thank you for your time and your consideration.