Homeschoolers Count — National Math Competition Bans Homeschoolers

Concerned Women for America has confirmed that Math Counts, 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 Math Counts 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.

Math Counts 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.

Christa Novelli, writing in the on-line, Fort Collins edition, reports:

Apparently there have been instances of math tutoring centers forming teams of “homeschoolers” who may or may not actually be homeschooled students. Why the response to this was not to take action against the offending teams rather than ban an entire group of children, I do not know.

MathCounts has also expressed the concern that homeschoolers had the advantage of being able to draw from larger geographical areas to form what they are referring to as “super teams.” While gifted students who attend public schools locally will continue to have the opportunity to compete as part of a MathCounts team, local homeschoolers will not. MathCounts rules do not allow for homeschoolers to join a public school team, however.

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 Math Counts 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.”