Monday, March 26, 2007

In the news

This article about a homeschool chess team caught my eye. I wonder if the homeschool team would have been excluded from the competition if they had lost more often.

Homeschool chess team not allowed to defend state title

Ray Parker
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 25, 2007 12:00 AM

The young chess players were the first such champions in Arizona.

But a team of homeschool students from the southeast Valley, called the Chevalier Noir (Black Knight) Academy, was shut out last weekend from competing, not allowed to defend its title in the Arizona Scholastic Chess Championship held in Tucson.

State chess officials allowed the homeschool students to play as teams for two years because of changing or unclear national rules on the subject, but this year, they ruled team members must come from the same school.

"The tournaments were created and designed for school teams," said Will Wharton, president of the Arizona Chess Federation board. "The problem is their connection is just chess, they're not doing any schooling together."

This was the justification of the ruling:

If homeschool students were allowed to form teams, he said, it would be like allowing sport teams to take students from any geographical area.

They are claiming that homeschoolers are stacking the deck in their favor. If they exclude the homeschool teams, it would only be fair to exclude charter school and the private school teams as well. Charter schools and private schools draw from a greater geographical area than the neighborhood public school and often have a more exclusive student population.

With the homeschool team out of the running, the chess tournament was a three way tie. One of the winners, Khalsa Montessori in Tucson, is a charter school which originated as a private school. They pull in students from neighboring schools. I'm finding it hard to see the difference between them and the homeschool team.

I looked at another Khalsa Montessori link looking for registration information. There does not seem to be any geographic limitation other than to be a resident of Arizona. I imagine most of their students live within a resonable driving radius. I imagine that is true for the homeschool team as well.

Another winner, Phoenix Country Day School, is a private school was an exclusive admission process. Students must pass admissions tests, interview and be invited to attend by the admissions commitee. They have a 40 acre campus. Again, no geographic limitation other than how far the parents are willing to drive.

The last winner, Harelson Elementary, is a public school. Their open enrollment policy states that "for pupils who are residents of the state of Arizona."

I don't think the homeschool team recruited players from out of state.

As a side note, I must say the school system functions much better in Arizona than California. With open enrollment, parents have many choices. Charter schools are managed more like private schools.

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JohnH said...

I know that in some similar type of things in Oregon (where you have to be from the same school), that if the homeschooling group exists outside of simply that team it is usually allowed.

Janine Cate said...

You would think it wouldn't be that big of a problem. Arizona let the homeschool team compete for two years. They discontinued the practice after the homeschool team won the state tournament. If they weren't winning, I think they would have been allowed to continue.

Heather (Sand Sea and School) said...

I wonder if the homeschool team would have been excluded from the competition if they had lost more often.

I would be willing to bet on that! I do agree that their open policy is a good policy as far as enrollment goes- Florida is still in the dark ages....

Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed it (and have enjoyed your blog over the past few weeks!)


Kelly Curtis said...

Rules are so often imposed in "convenient" ways. Unreal.