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Local Schools Can Allow Home-Schooled Students To Play Sports

NJSIAA decision paves the way for home-schooled students to participate

Local public school districts must develop a policy if they choose to allow home-schooled students to participate in district sports, according to the state scholastic sports governing body.

On Nov. 9, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association made an about-face on a previous, long-standing policy that disallowed homeschooled students from participating in scholastic sports programs run out of their home districts.

However, the choice rests with the local district. They are not mandated to allow home-schooled students to participate but must develop guidelines for their participation if they do.

Brick schools Superintendent Walter Hrycenko said the decision has left many school district leaders scrambling to formulate policies consistent with the NJSIAA decision before the winter sports season begins in early December.

"According to the NJSIAA, you can't just say, 'Today, everybody can play,' " Hrycenko said. "We have to develop criteria to evaluate."

The NJSIAA will allow homeschooled students to participate in district athletic programs provided that they meet nine criteria, mostly having to do with a student's academic eligibility to play. The local school board must also approve participation, and the building principal from where the sports program originates must also be notified.

Parents of homeschooled students who want to participate in sports must also demonstrate their child's "academic equivalency" to others in the same age and grade level, according to Brick school board member Leonard Cuppari, who had NJSIAA with him at a recent board meeting.

Developing the formula by which academic equivalency can be judged will most likely prove to be the most difficult task in the entire matter, Hrycenko said.

"It's easy to verify what's being done in the school," he said. "It's not easy to verify what's being done in home school."

Hrycenko said there is no official state curriculum, standardized tests or grading system that parents of homeschooled students must adhere to. In situations where a homeschooled student returns to public school, they are usually given a test by district officials and placed in an appropriate grade level, according to Brick Assistant Superintendent Patricia Lorusso.

"What method of testing, and what standard, do we have to give that information to the athletic director so he can make a decision?" asked Brick School Board President Sharon Kight at the board's Nov. 17 meeting, when the matter was discussed.

"That's the issue that everybody is trying to deal with right now, and the fact that the decision came out on Nov. 9 is what's creating the havoc," Hrycenko replied.

Board member Larry Reid said the board should do its part in approving students to play as soon as possible, so when administrators develop a method of approving students to play, they can begin participation as soon as they are confirmed to be eligible.

"My personal feeling is that, if the students are the number one top priority, we should approve that now and work out the details later," Reid said.

Mattie December 01, 2011 at 05:46 PM
I see what you're saying Lori, and I admit the whole vocational school + home schooling (without regular school attendance) thing really opens a can of worms, doesn't it? But I can see how home schoolers would be considered the same as public school "students" in a vocational school classroom, but I still don't see how that would entitle them (Homeschoolers) to avail themselves of any other extra curricular public school activities... and it's my opinion they shouldn't be allowed to.
Acamedics December 01, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Correct - anyone out of school pays but schoolagers are non-paying
Acamedics December 01, 2011 at 08:38 PM
no my posting a simply saying that these homeschoolers are now goingt o be able to participate in the prom, the plays, newspaper, any club, or activity including graduation. Sounds rediculous but the same principles apply.
Acamedics December 01, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Sports and extra curricuar are identical - I have heard of out of district kids attending graduations.
Mark Wendell December 02, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Funny how these parents who home school don't think the schools are good enough for their kids, although when I think of home schooled kids it's for other reasons, but they would want them to be there on the football team or walk in a graduation to a school you may never have even been inside of. IMPO unless your a certified teacher homeschooling should be against the law.
Mattie December 02, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Absolutely Mark. In (most) other states, home schooling parents acquire a year's worth of curriculum for the appropriate grade of their kid(s). The kids are expected to learn basically the same non-elective courses as school kids. They even have periodic testing to make sure home schooled kids are on par with school kids. However, in NEW JERSEY, there is no set curriculum for any grade, there is no obligation to supply the home schooled with books, or lesson plans. They also do not require ANY testing -at any time- to equate the home schooled with school kids or mark their progress. They do not allow home school kids to take the SATs or any other higher education assessment tests along with schooled kids. They do not require, or monitor for, any set amount of time a student should be studying at home. Many other states do, and require detailed lesson plans and minimum study schedules submitted from home schooling parents. But, home schooling in NJ is literally a free for all. Home schooled kids get No diploma (they can test for a GED like any other drop out or kid/adult who for some reason couldn't finish high school). These are reasons I believe it's unfair to allow home school kids to compete for and on public school-connected teams. AND I also believe a home schooling parent should have at least 2 years of college to home school.
Mark Wendell December 02, 2011 at 03:28 AM
Very interesting mattie, I would have thought there was more testing by the state to make sure that things were on the up and up but you seem very versed on the subject. It is my opinion that it is the parents choice and not the kids. I think the kids are getting forced to be home schooled because the parents are ultra religious or ultra right wing and think that the schools might mention things like homosexuality. I do understand however that some students cant be in a school because of problems or have such a degree of difficulty in schools that being in one is close to or impossible. I think the point others made about the huge savings incurred by homeschooling is a mute point. The state only helps fund districts. The lions share of most school funding in most district's are local taxes. I was in the board of ed office in my town today and I asked an administrator did he know how many were home schooled in town. They said they think the current amount is 4 all from the same family. Even if you were to use a high number of $10,000 per child as a cost to educate that's only $40,000 in so called savings. As someone pointed out there is still the staff, heat and lights etc in place so the savings of a missing child will never equal the cost to educate a child in the school. But using that $40,000 figure as an example one could see that is a drop in the bucket of any NJ school budget and would amount to nothing as far as savings to the towns or state taxpayers.
kat December 02, 2011 at 03:54 AM
Mattie: "They do not allow home school kids to take the SATs or any other higher education assessment tests along with schooled kids. " This is a false statement! Home school students do take the SATs in the same environment as any other public, private student. These students are required to test in the same environments as any other student to apply for college.
kat December 02, 2011 at 04:10 AM
I'm at a lose as to how these posts became an issue against homeschooling instead of homeschool students being permitted to play sports in a public school?? Homeschool is not a free-for-all. Have you experienced it? I am a certified teacher who has taught in public, private, and homeschool. Some of your accusations are incorrect. I applaude debate but please check your facts. Additionally, you commented on my percentage of homeschool students that was referenced from a "Homeschool Organization". Therefore, I am supplying another site from an educational gov't agency. . http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2011/tables/11s0236.pdf
kat December 02, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Another poster asked about homeschool athletes. Their numbers are still few, but some have impressive athletic credentials: • Swimmer Katie Hoff — a 2004 Olympian — is home-schooled. • Basketball player Mike Beasley, a rising junior from Upper Marlboro, Md., is projected by some analysts to become the first player to go directly from home school to the NBA. He has verbally committed to play for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte after he graduates in 2007. • The ranks of action sports champions are thick with home-school graduates such as 17-year-old X Games snowboard gold medalist Shaun White, 19-year-old motocross champion James "Bubba" Stewart and 17-year-old mountain bike champion Kyle Strait. • Basketball player Sam Warren, who was home-schooled until his senior year, has signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Virginia, an academically rigorous school in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Virginia athletics department officials believe he will be the first home-schooler to enter on an athletic scholarship.
Mattie December 02, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Any of them home schooled in NJ?
Mattie December 02, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I'm going to clear it up even further: "They do not allow home school kids to take the SATs or any other higher education assessment tests along with schooled kids. " "They" meaning the Public School does not allow or include home schooled kids to come in and prepare or take the SATs along with the schooled kids. Because public school kids do spend some time as a group preparing for SATs, don't they? That's what I meant, sorry for any confusion.
Mattie December 02, 2011 at 02:43 PM
And yes, home schooling, in NEW JERSEY, IS a Free-for-all. Home schooling in NJ is only as good as the parent(s) teaching at home. NJ doesn't give two figs how or what or when you teach a home school kid anything. You could be sitting there 4 hours a day reading from the Bible, or from Dr. Seuss books, or doing crossword puzzles; no one checks, no one tests, and no one cares... The only time a public school will test a home schooler is if and when they wish to rejoin a public school class. I am not making this up. NJ has essentially NO guidelines, materials or requirements for home schooling. That is a fact.
Mattie December 02, 2011 at 03:50 PM
I meant that they are not prepared for, or scheduled to, take the SATs *along with schooled kids*. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that. I did not intentionally make a false statement. All my information in that post and most of my other posts comes directly from NJ gov./ school websites and Home Schooling in NJ websites. (links were included) Additional comment: As for your numbers posted above, I did not dispute them, I acknowledged that I found the same numbers on another site and finally understood what they meant. Those same numbers are used by many sites, however, they all admit that they are estimates and/or self-reported (census type) estimates. The state of NJ doesn't keep track of how many home schooled kids there are, but they don't conclude it's in the 30 thousands, either. I'd like to make one other thing clear; I have nothing against home schooling. I don't care if you (you, being figurative) home school, I don't care if you hate the public schools, I don't care if you want to indoctrinate your kids with religion - that they can't get in public schools, I really don't. That's your choice, so go for it. I just don't think any home schooling parent should then be allowed to pick and choose among other public school social activities or sports a la cart for their kids. You are either IN or OUT. That's my Opinion.
Eggs-n-Toast December 02, 2011 at 04:22 PM
I'm honestly not sure what your post is trying to say, but anyone in the Olympics gets their Olympic training outside of public school and it doesn't matter how they were educated- public school, private or home school. The Olympic sports in which these athletes play are not the usual public school sports. None of the athletes you mention are involved in a sport that they started out playing in high school, with perhaps the exception of Mike Beasley. So I looked him up. They don't mention him being a home schooled kid. They DO mention that he "moved around a lot during high school..." and how now he's headed to rehab for drugs and trouble with the law. (not his first time, either). Beasley's not a terrific example, Kat... I would reconsider that one. Sam Warren may have been home schooled for most of his school years, but he was a senior in a public (or private?) school when he was considered for the University of Virginia. More than likely that's exactly WHY he went to regular school for his senior year- a better chance to be accepted onto a sports team for a University. Just sayin'
kat December 02, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Someone in an earlier post asked if there were any athletes that were homeschooled. That's why it was posted.
kat December 02, 2011 at 07:00 PM
So, as I stated, I was responding to someone's post about athletes that were homeschooled. Katie Hoff was also on that list.
Eggs-n-Toast December 03, 2011 at 11:37 AM
Yes, I get it... someone asked about pro athletes. I don't think they meant Olympic athletes, but that's neither here nor there. I still don't see what the connection is to the topic of our NJ schools allowing home-schooled kids to play public school sports and/ or avail themselves of other school social activities...
skizma December 03, 2011 at 12:25 PM
Unfortunately Mattie, students are allowed to fail and play. Students are allowed to have been issued a summons for destruction of school property....the same property they play sports on....and continue to play. that's what really happens. That is in our public schools. The character of the players is allowed to slip and slide for the sake of the team getting a win or the player playing. (in some cases, who mom or dad are so they are not embarrassed etc.) Unfortunately that is how it is done. Failing student players are allowed to keep playing after handing in a homework, or an assignment and getting a passing grade on it. All, of course, within the time they need to play the next game. Then they are OK'd. That is how it happens in real everyday life. I believe also that they should be passing. Period. I believe they should NOT have any discipline actions against them. But they can and do and are allowed to play. Even though you may think the policy states otherwise, the way it's handled in an everyday circumstance is not the way you think. My children all played varsity sports for while in hs, but, all along saw other players play while failing or having discipline actions against them. So, the rules really don't make a difference unfortunately. I have a bigger beef with lax enforcement of the public school rules than allowing a home schooled student to play if he makes it. No big deal. None.
skizma December 03, 2011 at 12:38 PM
But speedz, you were able to get the permit, right? It was made available to you. That's the point. That's what this is about. A public entity, for which everyone contributes, gives everyone the opportunity to use it. Should the sport be available to all, with no exemption for being different? We can't discriminate against someone different. That's the point. It should be made available, and, if certain criteria needs to be set, then do so, but make it available to the home schooled students as well. Set the criteria, then if they meet it, let them participate if they make it. Even prisoners....convicted of a crime....have rights and they are afforded to them by us. No one forfeits any rights until they have violations against them, such as drivers. you forfeit your license after you have violations. But, you are afforded the right, the opportunity. Set the criteria, then let them apply and try. This is not the same thing as an in school student body election etc. These are extra-curricular, out side of classroom instruction activities. It's healthy, not available in the home school setting, and there are so few who will even be interested. Can you imagine if one has an exceptional skill, the coach sees them....they'll want them to play and will be accepted. I am so surprised at the instant biased and exclusionary attitude toward our own neighbors. Well, again, let them participate if they wish. It's just not a big problem.
Lori Morrison December 03, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Acamedics, The student is attending an out of district school because of special educational needs that they are not able to receive at their home school. When they receive their graduation certificates, is it from the home school.
skizma December 03, 2011 at 02:54 PM
yes, that is true.
John Wayne December 18, 2011 at 06:50 PM
You have all these post arguing back and fourth on who is right and wrong on different issues. Everyone is entitled to have their own opinion, it is all right to agree to disagree, Adults should be able to handle differences. This blog is about allowing home schooled children able to try out for the local H.S. Sports. I have to say in my opinion I feel it should be allowed. The way NJ operates, everyone pays towards public school therefore a home school child who parents pay for taxes should be able to try out. Now, not that it matters, most likely they will not make the team. There is cuts in most school and if not it will be worse than the schools that do have them.There is so much nepotism going on in the schools, everyone knows who makes the teams and it is not always based on ability. There is many that are better that is benched for a spoiled Johnny who's parent is connected. The coaches automatically pick BOE students, teachers kids both in and out of the districts, they all promote their own. Connect the dots people, it is true. If you do not know, just ask the kids yourself, they all wind out saying oh my mom or dad is on the BOE or they are a teacher. I do not know how some of the coaches could look at these students in the eye who are such a better player that is getting cut or slighted in one way or another. Most coaches are teachers. Teachers get first priority over anyone, even if the Teacher does not know a thing about the sport. It is a real joke.
Ken December 18, 2011 at 07:11 PM
You are so right about the nepotism, but whether there are cuts or not amny players will still sit the bench so that someone else with connections can play more. These coaches would sooner lose games than upset someone with connections. I do disagree a little with one thing though. The student does not have to be related to just a teacher of BOE member, they just need to be related to someone with connections even if outside the school system. Also helps if they are related to a politicans or someone well known in the area or even someone who is or was a coach for a team outside of school. Especially if that coach had been a coach to whoever is coaching now. I am not sure which town you are from, but this goes on constantly in Toms River.
Tom December 20, 2011 at 05:10 PM
You make the mistake in submitting to the notion that anyone needs to be watched. Why are so many people so worried about governmnet oversight? What whimps we have become! Shame on us, when we can't allow the children in our community to play a good-natured sports game without some bureaucrat policing every aspect of the games? You want the taxpayers to pay a guy to make sure homeschoolers are homeschooling, so that it is fair to those who don't homeschool? You have to be out of you mind. I pay enough taxes already, thank you very much. Sorry for my tone, and it is not just you. We are so out of hand with government regulations it isn't funny. This is why we are in so much trouble in this country.
JNew March 07, 2012 at 12:42 AM
My son will be attending an all boys Catholic school in NJ that doesn't have a football team, an academically harder school than the public as well, we pay the same property taxes and tuition to boot...I want him to have the opportunity to play football, but also provide him with a stronger more disciplined academic curriculum than what our public school....I don't feel it's fair.
Mark Wendell March 07, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Sorry, but it is your choice to do that. If you want him to play football pick a school that has a team or go to a public school. Plenty of private schools have teams.
Veronica December 20, 2012 at 10:30 PM
You all have it wrong. Its not that the schools arent good enough. Its that the curriculum isnt correct. Kids are bored to death. This is why they lose interest. And the food...are you kidding me?? Our schools should have a garden outside so our children can get some kind of nourishment while they are not home. How about making that a class? Growing food then cooking it. Now thats an idea. Here is a question for you..what is your child's response when you ask them what they learned in school today? Most likely it will be "nothing". So why not educate children to the fullest and make it fun. And as far as sports go every child deserves to play as long as they qualify. If my son's grades are good enough he should play like everybody else.
Chris Piccioni April 30, 2013 at 12:49 AM
Wow... I am very disappointed with some of your thoughts on whether or not home-schooled children should be able to play sports. Those who live in the United States of America are required to pay taxes and therefore pay for public services just like everybody else... Come on people! I am 17 years old and a great student who maintains a 3.5 GPA as a junior though online education. I love sports and have attended public schools for much of my life. There are many pros and cons to both online and public schooling. I chose online schooling because I have had a difficult past in which I struggled with depression and anger. I also have ADHD and it makes it very difficult to focus and learn at the same pace as others around me. Online schooling is a great alternative to public schooling and I achieve. Yes it is accredited though Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) for your information and I must meet and often times achieve better academic performance than public school standards. I love football and I really appreciate sports as it allows me to be a better person, take part in a healthy activity, most importantly be part of (team). (That is why I play sports...) I have played sports while achieving in an online school and I have learned to be a better person and to lead a much healthier life... In my opinion let every child play.
Chris Piccioni April 30, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Wow... I am very disappointed with some of your thoughts on whether or not home-schooled children should be able to play sports. Those who live in the United States of America are required to pay taxes and therefore pay for public services just like everybody else... Come on people! I am 17 years old and a great student who maintains a 3.5 GPA as a junior though online education. I love sports and have attended public schools for much of my life. There are many pros and cons to both online and public schooling. I chose online schooling because I have had a difficult past in which I struggled with depression and anger. I also have ADHD and it makes it very difficult to focus and learn at the same pace as others around me. Online schooling is a great alternative to public schooling and I achieve. Yes it is accredited though Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) for your information and I must meet and often times achieve better academic performance than public school standards. I love football and I really appreciate sports as it allows me to be a better person, take part in a healthy activity, most importantly be part of (team). (That is why I play sports...) I have played sports while achieving in an online school and I have learned to be a better person and to lead a much healthier life... In my opinion let every child play.

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