Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » A SIMPLE SOLUTION

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Filed at 7:05 am under by dcobranchi

Fail the test. Miserably. On purpose.

Saying it is only fair, Bethlehem Area School District officials want homeschoolers to take standardized tests if they want to join sports teams or clubs because that is what the public school students must do.

The school board will vote Feb. 27 on a policy to force homeschoolers to take at least one state-approved standardized test to remain eligible for extracurricular activities during an athletic season or academic calender.

…[The] Bethlehem policy adds a section that states homeschoolers must ”participate in applicable state academic testing assessments during the period of participation in the activity.” For example, if a Bethlehem-area homeschooler wants to play baseball or softball this spring, he or she will have to take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exam because that is the standardized test district students must take in March to be eligible.

It’s a school assessment. You know, with rankings, and grades, and (sometimes) salaries tied to the results. Let some HEKs score zeroes on a few of these and the policy will change rather quickly. And I wouldn’t try to hide it. Make an announcement of the protest. Dollars to donuts, when the educrats figure out that we can intentionally lower their school ratings, they’ll back down.

14 Responses to “A SIMPLE SOLUTION”


Comment by
Lillian
February 15th, 2006
at 9:00 am

But it is only fair. If I were the mother of a kid who got cut from the basketball team or the marching band because his test scores were too low, I’d be incredibly resentful of some homeschooler who waltzed in and took his place without having to take the same test. And do we want more people resenting homeschoolers?

This is why pushing for access to school teams is a very bad idea.


Comment by
Doc
February 15th, 2006
at 9:37 am

In Oregon, hs kids have always had access to school sports, activities, classes, and library usage. The requirement for enrolled students is that they be in complience with regulations – GPA above 2.0 to participate. Since it’s hard to determine if hs kids are “in complience” the regulation states that to participate, hs students must be “in complience” with state regulations. For us, this means an easy standardized test (Iowa Basic) in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. I don’t have a problem with that… I would have a problem with the requirement being the same test the public school students take because of NCLB standards – a test they are specifically coached to take. I do believe sports (and all activities) should be open to hs students simply because my taxes support the school, my children should benefit in whatever way I choose, and if it means they have to jump through a hoop, that’s okay too. That’s my nod to their “real life” training.


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
February 15th, 2006
at 9:39 am

I don’t believe these tests are used to determine academic eligibility. If they were, then my plan would fail by definition. No, the educrats will back down as soon as they realize that we hold their raises and promotions in our hands.


Comment by
Doc
February 15th, 2006
at 10:32 am

I don’t know. In our state (lots and lots of small rural schools), sports rule. Old time families didn’t want to see “their” kids bumped by some unsocialized homeschooler. The testing requirement is a fairly new addition, and it is the direct result of parents complaining about “fairness”, not admins.


Comment by
COD
February 15th, 2006
at 11:48 am

It is PA we are talking about here. As a general principal, I don’t see anything wrong with the HEK’s being required to meet the exact same requirements as as the schoolies when it comes to extra curriculars.

Otherwise, you would have parents of dumb ass athletes claiming to homeschool just to keep them on the team, and the dream of the full ride alive. In fact, I would expect coaches to push that option if a loophole made it easier to maintain eligibility for the star 17 year old WR who reads at a 3rd grade level.

Like Lillian said, it’s better to stay away altogether. I really have never understood why parents will work so hard to provide an education outside of the system, yet refuse to put a little work into providing the traditional extracurriculars too.


Comment by
Doc
February 15th, 2006
at 12:16 pm

I don’t think anyone is refusing to ‘put a little work’ into providing traditional extracurriculars… the alternatives simply aren’t as good in regards to some sports. There are youth leagues for most sports, but by the high school level, the best players, and the greatest competition is within the high school leagues. Just as I wouldn’t settle for a substandard curriculum, I know my kids deserve to be competing at a level that challenges them, in activities that interest them.


Comment by
COD
February 15th, 2006
at 12:25 pm

I wasn’t referring to you Doc. I was referring to parents in many states that believe their tax dollars entitle them to a place on the high school basketball team without following the rules set for the other kids on the team.

If you are willing to play by the rules that is fine. It’s the “have our cake and eat it too” crowd that makes us look bad, IMHO.


Comment by
sam
February 15th, 2006
at 1:34 pm

I think this also gets back to an older topic concerning the appropriateness of coupling the academics of school with the extracurriculars, sports and band for example, that have nothing to do with school. Like Doc mentioned, there are youth leagues for any sport you can imagine.
Our AYSO soccer season is about to start, and I think AYSO is a good example of comunity sports working. It’s not a great example in that AYSO is not intended to be especially competitive, but I think it’s a good example of what community sports can look like. On any given Saturday in spring or fall you can drive out to our soccer complex and see kids from 4 on up to 19 playing. We have several fields for U6 on up to at least two full size fields. On Sundays you can find the adult games, and each season we have roughly 8 adult teams from the surrounding areas.
I honestly don’t see this happening. Sports and schools are still too closely tied together. I can see the side that wants to avoid schools and all their crap, but if a family does want to be involved, they should have to jump through the same hoops, take the same test as other kids.
Maybe the sports issue though is that final straw that brings the school system to a place where it has to confront it’s failures and redesign itself to actually serve the communities.
On the other hand, that too will never happen.


Comment by
COD
February 15th, 2006
at 4:01 pm

//confront it’s failures and redesign itself to actually serve the communities.//

Monopolies never have to confront thier failures.


Comment by
maryalice from PA
February 15th, 2006
at 4:35 pm

The proposed testing has nothing to do with extracurricular activities for the b&m students. The governing sports organizations require only attendance and passing in core subjects. This proposal is in direct violation with the law. The law states ( From Act 67 of 2005):
(4) A BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS MAY ADOPT A POLICY TO
26 IMPLEMENT THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS SUBSECTION. SUCH POLICY SHALL
27 ONLY APPLY TO PARTICIPATION IN ACTIVITIES AND SHALL NOT CONFLICT
28 WITH ANY PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION.

The Home Education law is very specific about testing and does not require the testing that the Bethlehem SB. The spiteful school board just manipulated the law to harass homeschoolers.

Also a bill has been introduced in PA to open extracurricular to all students, non-public and private. The monopoly of extracurricular should be broken and allow extracurricular to become community based.


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
February 15th, 2006
at 5:18 pm

And that was my point. The school district is playing hardball, possibly even extra-legal hardball. I just wanted to throw one up and in on them.


Comment by
Lillian
February 15th, 2006
at 7:29 pm

I guess the Morning Call got it wrong then. I was basing my comment on the fact that the paper said: “For example, if a Bethlehem-area homeschooler wants to play baseball or softball this spring, he or she will have to take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment exam because that is the standardized test district students must take in March to be eligible.”


Comment by
Daryl Cobranchi
February 16th, 2006
at 5:27 am

I took that to mean that they had to sit for the test. NCLB requires that 95% of students actually take the test or the school will automatically fall into the “failing” category. I may be misinterpreting here, but I read that eligibility requirement as the stick to get kids to show up. Four standardized tests per year is a lot.


Comment by
Anonymous
February 16th, 2006
at 11:54 am

re: hardball I’m surprised that Bethlehem didn’t add another requirement – participation in their “community service program.” Bethlehem students must perform 60 hours of “volunteer” work during their high school years. No volunteer work – no diploma.

Isn’t that lovely?

Cindy