Update to Eligibility Guidelines for Homeschools and Virtual Schools; 09-10 Participants will be Grandfathered into 10-11 Program Year
After taking all concerns into account, a compromise was crafted that would grandfather in homeschools and virtual schools that participated in the 2009-2010 program year to allow them to participate on teams in this year’s Competition Program. All new homeschool and virtual school participants must abide by the new eligibility rules that require those participants to register only as individuals.
This compromise was brought to the MATHCOUNTS Board of Directors and approved unanimously. Therefore, for the 2010-2011 school year, all homeschool and virtual school groups that registered for the MATHCOUNTS Competition Program either as teams OR individuals during the 2009-2010 program year will be allowed to register teams or as individuals for the upcoming 2010-2011 program year, following all of the 2009-2010 requirements for participation.
On the MathCounts website there's a letter which claims that homeschoolers were never really banned in the first place. However, their eligibility rules currently on the website (posted below) still states that "Students taking middle school mathematics classes who are not full‑time sixth, seventh or eighth graders are not eligible."
Either way, I'm glad to hear that homeschoolers can participate in most venues.
This is a real nonsensical solution to a problem.
National Math Competition Bans Homeschoolers
WASHINGTON -- Concerned Women for America has confirmed that MathCounts, a national math competition for teams and individual students in grades 6-8, will not allow homeschoolers to form teams and compete in the 2010-2011 school year. The MathCounts board unanimously decided to exclude homeschoolers in response to a few situations in which "super teams" were formed by pulling certain gifted students from public schools and labeling them as homeschool teams. MathCounts has provided unique opportunities for gifted students to compete and to shine. The program is comparable to the National Spelling Bee. Winners on a national level are rewarded and meet the president at the White House. These examples of cheating obviously mar the competition, but homeschoolers as a whole should not be completely wiped from the competition.
Penny Nance, CEO for Concerned Women for America, said, "It appears that the objectionable behavior was committed mostly, if not wholly, by non-homeschool kids, yet the MathCounts board chose to punish homeschoolers. Homeschoolers have excelled in the competition. Is this another example of punishing those who excel so that others can feel good about themselves? These students should not be punished for the misdeeds of a few cheaters. Homeschoolers may still be permitted to compete as individuals, but the reality is that far fewer students will be able to participate if homeschool teams are banned from involvement."
So, let me see if I understand this. Parents with children from various PUBLIC SCHOOLS were combining their children into teams and calling themselves homeschoolers. In essences, they stacked the deck for their team. The board responded by banning homeschoolers who have done nothing inappropriate.
It would have been very easy to require that homeschool teams only allow children to participate who had not been enrolled in a public or private school during the previous calendar year, except for homeschool satellite or homeschool charter programs. That would have taken care of the cheaters.
From MATHCOUNTS Competition Program Frequently Asked Questions
Who can compete?
Students enrolled in the sixth, seventh or eighth grade are eligible to participate in MATHCOUNTS competitions. Students taking middle school mathematics classes who are not full‑time sixth, seventh or eighth graders are not eligible. Participation in MATHCOUNTS competitions is limited to three years for each student though there is no limit to the number of years a student may participate in the school‑based coaching phase.
If you would like to share your thoughts about this decision, here's the link to Math Counts.
Here's the names of the board members.
Better yet, here's a list of sponsors who you may want to contact.
Personally, I would contact all the sponsors and encourage them to remove their support from the MathCounts organization and point out how much bad publicity could be directed at their organization for supporting such unfair practices.
National Society of Profession Engineers
National Council of Teachers of Math
CNA Financial Corporation
The National Defense Education Program (NDEP)
Northrop Grumman Foundation
General Motors Foundation
National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
Tyco Electronics Foundation
The Actuarial Foundation
American Public Works Association (APWA)
This reminds me of when Arizona banned homeschool chess teams from the state competition.