Improving local policies
A new model homeschool policy has popped up in a number of Massachusetts school districts. By no means perfect, the new policy is still a great improvement over many of the older policies that it has replaced.
In Billerica, homeschoolers were given no opportunity to provide input or express their concerns about the new policy. Approximately 20 families then joined together to form the Billerica Association of Committed Homeschoolers (BACH) and negotiated with their superintendent for some important changes to the new policy. Home School Legal Defense Association commends their work and encourages all homeschoolers to work closely with other local families to make sure they are governed "with the consent of the governed."
Another issue surfacing in Massachusetts is the plight of student athletes in districts that do not permit homeschoolers to participate on public school teams. For example, one young man in Barnstable is an excellent golfer, but Barnstable does not permit homeschoolers to participate in public school sports. When the neighboring district of Dennis-Yarmouth found out that this homeschooler routinely scores in the 70's, officials were eager to have him on their team. Unfortunately, Massachusetts' school choice law does not allow homeschoolers to "choice out" of their own districts. Even though D-Y could have taken him as a full-time public school student (where he could have played on the D-Y team), they could not accept him as a homeschool student on their team. The "choice out" problem can only be solved by a change to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules or a change in state law. Meanwhile, homeschoolers are lobbying Barnstable to change its existing sports participation policy.
— Scott W. Somerville