New MathCounts rules banning homeschool teams - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if any of you have kids who participate, or want to eventually participate, in MathCounts but they have made a rule change for this year. They will allow homeschoolers to participate as individuals, but they will no longer allow them to form teams for the team competition.

The reasons for this rule change:
1) There are some tutoring centers drawing students from different public schools forming 'super teams' and calling them 'homeschool' teams. So public school students breaking the current rules. You already have to file an affidavit saying you are legally homeschooling.

2) There are people saying that homeschoolers have an unfair advantage because they can pull from a larger geographic area.

3) Since homeschoolers only make up 1-2% of their participants, the easiest solution was to ban homeschool teams.

If you don't like this change, I urge you to contact the national office at www.mathcounts.org
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#2 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 12:15 PM
 
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What a bummer! I'm sorry to hear that. My girls have not participated in MathCounts, but my younger one may want to when she is older. I do understand the concerns, but we have seen people cheating in all walks of school including public school, so I don't know that banning a whole group of people due to some people in that group being dishonest is fair to those who are doing things according to the rules.

For instance, we know kids whose parents waited to start them in school until they were quite a bit older and who posed as homeschoolers to get copies of the CogAT from the publisher to give to their "homeschooled" kids and used them to prep them with the answers for school. These kids will be 19 year old high school seniors with high CogAT scores from elementary that got them into accelerated math and literacy classes throughout their schooling years. They, too, are at an advantage over kids whose families played by the rules in terms of their potential performance on various academics. Yet they are not being banned from competitions, etc.
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#3 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 01:03 PM
 
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This is discrimination. Basically, they are saying the public schoolers are miffed because the homeschoolers were winning so they want the homeschoolers out.

As far as these super teams go, I have a hard time believing it. If they really had knowledge of someone really being a public schooler, then they should ban the entire team and the entity who supported them and the coaches and what not, as well as the kids for all future competitions.
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#4 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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This is discrimination. Basically, they are saying the public schoolers are miffed because the homeschoolers were winning so they want the homeschoolers out.

As far as these super teams go, I have a hard time believing it. If they really had knowledge of someone really being a public schooler, then they should ban the entire team and the entity who supported them and the coaches and what not, as well as the kids for all future competitions.


What if it was worded differently, like only girls or boys were allowed to participate, since the other group was only 1-2% of competitors? I hope something changes with this!

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#5 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm still perplexed by the thought of homeschoolers organizing 'super teams'. In my experience trying to get a group of homeschoolers to meet at a certain time and place once a week for practice is tougher than herding cats. LOL I think the schools with their captive audience would have an easier time preparing super teams.

I've talked to my daughter about whether or not she will participate in MathCounts this year if they don't change the rule. She competed last year (her first year of eligibility) and placed 15th in state, her team was 7th. She has a good shot at top 10 as an individual and make the countdown round (top 4 in count down go to national) this year. She says she doesn't want to do it as an individual. It would feel to awkward to be there without a team. Many of her team members this year do not feel confident enough to do it as individuals either.

There are other math contests. If they don't like us, we'll take our ball and go play elsewhere! LOL Of course, I have registered my dismay at their decision. And since I've coached and volunteered in the past, they will have lost a volunteer as well.
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#6 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 07:35 PM
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How did you find out about the change? I can't find it on their website?

Amy

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#7 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 07:37 PM
 
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Wait, so public school kids were cheating, so their solution was to ban homeschoolers?? That makes no sense.
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#8 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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Wait, so public school kids were cheating, so their solution was to ban homeschoolers?? That makes no sense.
I know, right? I don't even know what this group is and I want to write a letter and yell at them.

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#9 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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I dug around their website and didn't see it either, but A2Zhomeschool has a letter on their site from a program manager at MathCounts confirming it: http://a2zhomeschool.com/homeschool/...homeschoolers/

I posted something about it on my blog and had someone commment that she contacted her state rep from MathCounts and he was unaware of the change. It seems like they are doing a poor job of publicizing the change as well.
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#10 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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2) There are people saying that homeschoolers have an unfair advantage because they can pull from a larger geographic area.
The above leaves me . What about private schools and magnet schools who pull from a larger geographic area. This was something we wanted to do as a group at our co-op and I am really .
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#11 of 17 Old 08-14-2010, 08:22 PM
 
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The above leaves me . What about private schools and magnet schools who pull from a larger geographic area. This was something we wanted to do as a group at our co-op and I am really .
Not to mention ridiculous. Are we all so committed to mathematical world domination that we're driving for hours so we can create the perfect team?

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#12 of 17 Old 08-15-2010, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How did you find out about the change? I can't find it on their website?

Amy
I heard about it on another list and contacted the national office. They emailed a standard form letter back to me confirming the changes and listing the 3 reasons I paraphrased in my post.

I've heard some people argue in favor of the ruling - but I still don't get it. The aim is to encourage kids to participate right? I think another concern I've heard is that some schools don't have MathCounts programs so the kids are tempted to declare as homeschoolers. But doesn't it seem like a better idea to find a way for kids to participate who want to do so rather than just banning homeschool teams? I'm thoroughly perplexed.

I think it was the DOE science bowl program I am remembering, that had a method that seems logical. If your school fields a team, that is your only option to participate. If you don't attend a school that fields a team (whether you are homeschool, private school, or public school) then you can join a community team through 4H, scouts, learning centers, etc.
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#13 of 17 Old 08-15-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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My response included -- if the school teams are loosing to LEGITIMATE home school teams, they should be asking what methods and curricula are being used and bringing them to their schools. If the goal is to increase the quality of math education, then comparison of home schooled teams with school teams is "mission critical."
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#14 of 17 Old 08-15-2010, 10:22 AM
 
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The part about larger geographical area is such a crock. It is clear that is just an excuse. Their bigger concern would be wealthy schools with well educated parents and lots of resources. They are obviously using that as an excuse. They are clearly just ticked that homeschoolers win. It is nothing more than an attack on homeschoolers.
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#15 of 17 Old 08-15-2010, 12:50 PM
 
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That is really unfortunate.

Does anyone know if Scripps Spelling Bees exclude homeschoolers as well?
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#16 of 17 Old 08-15-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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That is really unfortunate.

Does anyone know if Scripps Spelling Bees exclude homeschoolers as well?
they include homeschoolers
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#17 of 17 Old 08-15-2010, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That is really unfortunate.

Does anyone know if Scripps Spelling Bees exclude homeschoolers as well?
Scripps allows homeschoolers.

It is important to note that MathCounts will still allow homeschoolers as individuals, they just can't take part in the team competition.

Scripps has restrictions that can make it tougher to enter now as a homeschooler. You need a record of your schoolwork, here's a quote:
"The speller must not bypass or circumvent normal school activity to study for spelling bees. The Scripps National Spelling Bee defines normal school activity as adherence to at least four courses of study other than language arts, spelling, Latin, Greek, vocabulary, and etymology for at least four hours per weekday for 34 of the 38 weeks between September 1, 2009, and May 23, 2010."

It also has restrictions against subject accelerated students. The student may not have enrolled in or completed 6 high school courses or 2 college level courses. So a kid who is accelerated in math and science and perhaps takes high school foreign language early could be out of the running. I guess they want to showcase smart kids - as long as they aren't too smart.
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