Are Home Schooled Athletes Cheating?

In a previous discussion on home schooling and athletics, this idea, surprisingly, did not come up:

Some senators worry a bill that passed the Senate this morning might allow student to cheat their way into playing sports.

The bill allows home schooled students to join public school sports teams and other exrtracirricular activities. But their academic performance must meet certain standards. But how do home schoolers establish academic standards? Some argue that they can’t.

Today’s vote followed a heated discussion in the Senate Monday over whether to amend the bill so public schools have to help verify home schoolers’ academic performance. Some legislators worried without the amendment the bill might not become law and if it did become law some parents would lie about their children’s academic performance to keep them in sports.
“Do you think for one moment there are people who will not game the system?” Sen. Gregory Bell, R-Fruit Heights, asked senators Monday.
“Just to say, ‘I’m a taxpayer and I’m honest,’ doesn’t cut it.”
Others, however, opposed amending the bill, saying lawmakers must trust parents to do the right thing.

[source]

Comments

  1. #1 Cherish
    February 13, 2008

    I would assume that if homeschooled children are required to take standardized tests (as they are in many states), it would be sufficient to say that they must achieve a certain minimum score in order to participate.

    Of course, it strikes me as a bit ridiculous given the statistics generally show that homeschoolers tend to do as well or better than their age-peers in public school.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    February 13, 2008

    Cherish:

    How do statistics of what home schoolers are alleged to have generally done matter to the evaluation of an arbitrary as yet unspecified student at some point in the future who claims to have reached a certain level of academic ability and wants to play football?

  3. #3 Gene Goldring
    February 13, 2008

    How can you say that Cherish? Many studies are out to praise home schooling using incomplete stats. Selection bias has most probably created most of the stats available for qualifying your statement above.

    If you want to read a good paper detailing many of the holes in home schooling stats and the constitutional arguments for registering home schoolers and why the need for standardized testing, follow the link below.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=980100

  4. #4 Matt Penfold
    February 14, 2008

    I must be not understanding something here.

    What does academic attainment have to do with whether someone should be allowed to play sport ?

  5. #5 jim
    February 14, 2008

    Matt,
    In most schools students must maintain a certain GPA or better to participate in sports. (not PE, after school sports) This is to incent the students to study.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2008

    Matt:

    Jim is right, as usual. For a long time, students were recruited into a school, developed as athletes, used to make the school name link to sports success, which is largely a fund raising tool, then the student, illiterate and uneducated, dumped on the street.

    This happened at both high school and college levels. But the NCAA (national college athletics assoc) established rules for academic performance. So if you are an NCAA athlete, you’ve got to have a minimum level of academic performance or better. If a college does not comply, the college loses its NCAA status or is fined or whatever.

    It does no on any service for high schools to feed academically unprpared athletes into the college system.

  7. #7 Matt Penfold
    February 14, 2008

    I guess this is just another difference between the US and the UK.

    Here in the UK, whilst schools obviously do sport, it does not seem to have the role it does in schools in the US. Same goes for universities as well. Over here kids who are good at sport will tend to do their sport outside of school. For example if a kid is good a football (soccer for you Americans!) they may well play for their school side but their main sporting effort will be for a local team, sometimes the youth sides of professional teams.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    February 14, 2008

    Scott: Very interesting.

    Here, what you are describing is a practice among immigrant kids, for soccer. The school my wife used to teach at had a horrible soccer team, but many excellent Horn of Africa soccer players went to the school. But they played in a league outside of school. Only the kids that weren’t so good played in the school.

  9. #9 Cherish
    February 14, 2008

    Regardless of whether believe the statistics are valid, the point still stands that most states require homeschoolers to take standardized testing. I would think that this could be considered suitably unbiased assessment of an individual’s educational progress (otherwise I don’t think they’d use them in public schools). If a child is doing sufficiently well on those, I don’t see why they can’t be allowed to participate.

    The counter to this is the problem that friends of mine have had. Their children were homeschooled and began taking college classes as teens or preteens. Because they were in college classes, they were not allowed to participate in high school sports. While the children’s intellectual development obviously far surpassed that of their peers, they still developed physically at the same rate as their peers and were in no position to join college sports teams. Why should they be penalized for being far above average?

  10. #10 Constance Reader
    February 14, 2008

    The reason standardized test scores would not work is because such tests are administered at most annually and usually not that often. Whereas the athletes enrolled in the public school have their academic performance evaluated on a much more frequent report card cycle. Standardized test scores would only be fair if all of the athletes, not just the homeschooled athletes, were evaluated by them.

  11. #11 rev_matt_y
    February 18, 2008

    RE: Frequency of standardized testing. I can only speak to the process of California public schools, but when I was in school all students took standardized tests at least twice per year. That is certainly often enough to be useful (as far as standardized tests go), and all students were required to take them.

    I don’t think anyone suggested that homeschooled athletes should have to meet some standard other students didn’t, but rather that they should meet the same standards as the other athletes.