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J. Michael Smith, Esq.

Michael P. Farris, Esq.

MATHCOUNTS Agrees to Meet with HSLDA

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations

August 19, 2010

MATHCOUNTS has agreed to meet with HSLDA to discuss its change in eligibility standards for homeschool teams.

Recently, MATHCOUNTS, a foundation which supports the advancement of math in middle school, announced an alteration in its eligibility rules for the Competition Program. Small schools, homeschools, and virtual schools will no longer be allowed to combine to form teams at MATHCOUNTS competitions, but will instead need to register their students as individuals.

Homeschoolers are concerned about this change to the eligibility rules. In the past, small schools, homeschools, and virtual schools were allowed to combine to form teams, just like large public schools.

MATHCOUNTS released a statement on August 17, 2010, that explained why they made this decision.

HSLDA contacted MATHCOUNTS about this change to the eligibility rules. MATHCOUNTS has a long tradition of letting homeschoolers participate fully in all competitions, and many homeschool students have excelled in MATHCOUNTS competitions. Because of this, we were surprised to hear that MATHCOUNTS seemed to be discriminating against homeschoolers.

MATHCOUNTS explained to HSLDA that there is no desire to discriminate against homeschoolers, or students from any school, with this new eligibility rule. However, HSLDA believes—based on conversations with homeschool MATHCOUNTS coaches and others—that the new MATHCOUNTS eligibility policy will significantly reduce the number of homeschool students who are able to qualify for the state MATHCOUNTS competitions.

MATHCOUNTS also insisted that this change in the eligibility rules was needed because it was difficult to verify that homeschool students were eligible to compete. HSLDA believes that this could be accomplished without eliminating homeschool teams.

HSLDA is encouraged that MATHCOUNTS has agreed to meet with HSLDA to see if there is a way to let homeschoolers participate in teams again.