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Arkansas Home School Students Now Eligible To Play High School Sports, Participate In Other Activities

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Beginning in the 2013-14 school year, home school students in Arkansas will be eligible to participate in all manners of high school activities -- from sports to chess club -- KTHV reports.

The Arkansas Activities Association, composed of school district superintendents and athletic directors, voted 155-82 to allow home school students to get involved in interscholastic activities provided they are enrolled in at least one class a day, score average or better on the SAT-10 Assessment in math, science, English and social studies, and make the team, the Associated Press reports.

"We've heard from a lot of home school parents that they'll do whatever it takes to be able to participate," AAA Executive Director Lance Taylor told KTHV. “It's wherever the public school district where their parents reside, that's the school district they are going to be able to participate in."

According to the AP, the “Tim Tebow Law” as it’s so called - named after the New York Jets quarterback who was home-schooled prior to his college career at Florida -- failed to pass in the last two regular legislative sessions in 2011 and 2009.

But not everyone has warmed to the idea. Lakeside School District Superintendent Shawn Cook told Fox16.com that the ruling will give home school students an unfair advantage over their public school counterparts.

"When our kids get home from an event they'll have to be at school the next morning at 8 o'clock," Cook said. "Home school kids can sleep in, practice all day, do whatever they want to do."

As Jonathan Wall points out in his Yahoo Sports blog, South Carolina recently passed a bill allowing home school students access to athletics and other extracurriculars at their local public school.

According to Oran Smith of the Palmetto Family Council, 28 states already allowed home schoolers to participate in activities at local high schools, before South Carolina and Arkansas followed suit.

More than 2 million U.S. students in grades K-12 were home-schooled in 2010, accounting for nearly four percent of all school-aged children.

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