Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » SOMETHING REALLY FISHY HERE

    Filed at 1:34 am under by dcobranchi

    Virginia’s countywide spelling bees excluded homeschoolers. Instead, they were forced to compete against each other in a statewide bee.

    Twenty-four home schoolers came from around the state to face off at the Dumbarton Library in Henrico County, and they were so good that bee officials quickly moved to the advanced word list in an effort to narrow the field.

    Here are some of the words they faced: “cinematheque,” “habiliments,” “quondam,” and “triceratops.”

    The grueling bee took close to three hours before 11-year-old Brittannie Hedrick of Langley Air Force Base spelled “immiscible” to win. The word means something that cannot be mixed, as in oil and water.

    Brittannie, a sixth-grader, is the daughter of John P. and Lynne Hedrick.

    Lindsey Brinkman, 12, was runner-up, tripping up on “cedilla.” She is the daughter of Donna and Chuck Brinkman of Chesapeake.

    Sounds like Virginia didn’t want the regional competition to be dominated by homeschoolers, so they stacked the deck against them.


    Comment by
    Eric Holcombe
    March 24th, 2004
    at 2:06 pm

    Well, if you can’t beat ’em…uh…. start your own spelling bee…diversity be damned!

    Comment by
    March 25th, 2004
    at 10:43 am

    I see no problem with homeschoolers starting their own competitions. Indeed, once my kids get old enough, I wouldn’t be averse to setting up a nationwide math competition for homeschoolers — I helped run a statewide competition for NC from my high school.

    In a way, it really isn’t fair to pit the much advanced homeschoolers against the regular g-school population. I found that out in a similar situation when the D.C. public school kids were included in a Metro DC math competition — they were WAAAAAAY out of their league. We had students who had learned trig and regularly did competitions against kids who barely had algebra skills. They were the best of DC schools, and they were horribly outclassed. Setting up these competitions by age is silly.

    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    March 25th, 2004
    at 11:14 am

    I’m not sure that the homeschoolers did set up their own competition. It seems like they were herded into a statewide meet in order to qualify for the regional meet. All of the other kids competed at the county level. So, the county champ was ex the homeschoolers. Given the write-up of the homeschool competition, you can bet that there would have been more than one homeschooler in the regional. This really seems like the state fixing the contest so that homeschoolers couldn’t dominate the regional.

    Comment by
    March 25th, 2004
    at 1:28 pm

    No, I meant that the homeschoolers can opt out of the “official” bees and make their own — I thought that’s what Eric meant, too.

    For some areas, competing against other homeschoolers, as opposed to the g-schoolers, might make for more interesting competition for each group. The whole point of regional competitions is that one assumes the schools in the region are more likely to have similar resources, etc., so the competition is semi-level. When I was in high school, most math competitions I went to were county-level, and even then the competitions weren’t entirely fair — only about 2 out of the 8 high schools had a chance for top spot (my high school was actually always the top – and our wins were announced at school with the sports teams’ wins – but the 2nd place school wasn’t terribly far away.) Why should the homeschoolers blow away the local competition? It may mean more to a homeschooler that they came in 3rd at a statewide homeschool competition than they came in first against 50 g-schoolers who were outclassed.