State chess officials allowed the homeschool students to play as teams for two years because of changing or unclear national rules on the subject, but this year, they ruled team members must come from the same school.The justification of this ruling is curious, in that a homeschooling dad made the disingenuous statement, "If homeschool students were allowed to form teams, he said, it would be like allowing sport teams to take students from any geographical area." This argument seems to be a red herring of the worst kind in that private schools already do this, and their student population tends to be even more exclusive than the number of homeschool kids.
"The tournaments were created and designed for school teams," said Will Wharton, president of the Arizona Chess Federation board. "The problem is their connection is just chess, they're not doing any schooling together."
The point is that the state chess committee felt that homeschoolers were stacking the deck in their favor. Perhaps they are making the same assumption that this particular group of homeschoolers doesn't do anything but sit around and play chess all day, much like a group of homeschoolers that swept the Scripps Spelling Bee about ten years ago.
It seems the homeschooling movement is gaining a full head of steam and is drawing more and more attention.
The bee has come under fire in recent years as a number of students allegedly hired special coaches to help them prepare for the bee, a luxury many spellers cannot afford. Some suggest homeschooled students have an advantage, that they can forgo their studies to prepare for the bee. Homeschoolers respond that, while they do have extra time to devote to spelling practice, such extra time does not come at the expense of their other studies...
(HT: Janine Cate)