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Tebow laws let homeschooled kids play sports on public-school teams. But not everyone is a fan

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Reed Young for TIME

Virginia killed a bill that would have let homeschoolers like Nick Faulconer play on public high school teams

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Some states' academic requirements make compliance all but impossible for homeschoolers, who generally do not organize their education around classes in the way public schools do. One solution favored by supporters of Tebow laws is to have athletes who want to play high school sports take their state's standardized tests. But that's anathema to many hardcore homeschoolers, who in some states aren't even obligated to provide their names and addresses to the state board of education. Only 24 states require any kind of testing or evaluation for homeschooled students, and only nine specify any qualifications for parents who seek to teach at home.

Meanwhile, public-school advocates worry that students might try to game the system by dropping out and homeschooling at strategic points in their athletic careers. But despite opponents' certainty that Tebow laws--the first of which was passed in Colorado in 1988--are a disaster in the offing, they have yet to produce an example of real abuse. In other words, in states that already have the laws, they're not a big issue.

In February, when the Virginia bill passed the house of delegates, the legislation's sponsor, Rob Bell, celebrated by Tebowing--kneeling in prayer in the state capitol in the pose the Denver Broncos star made famous on the field. Bell, whose siblings were homeschooled, says he plans to reintroduce the legislation next year. "I have no doubt we'll get there," he says.

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