Homeschoolers ought to be able to pick and choose where to play ball.

I’m very upset that the Legislature’s Education Committee refused to uphold fairness and justice for homeschooled children who were playing, and who want to play, for private schools in Maine.

I find it quite interesting how lawmakers can find the time and see it as their duty to pass resolutions about federal matters, like whether we should go to war, but issues that involve our tax dollars are being passed off as issues they shouldn’t be involved with. Like making things fair for all Maine students whether their parents choose to send them to public or private school, or homeschool them.

I want a better explanation on why the Maine Principal’s Association isn’t held more accountable to the Education Committee.

I find it quite interesting how the MPA can be called a private group but, yet, is funded by collecting a tax dollar for each child who attends a school that has any participation in any form of extracurricular activity. Especially since high schools cannot have an honor society, math team, basketball team or anything else unless they are a member of the MPA. But, yet, the Education Committee says it is a private group that legislators have no say over.

A private group that has been given, by some unseen power, uncontrollable rule over deciding who can and can’t play on what teams.

When did we ever vote for such a thing? I don’t remember ever giving permission for a separate group to come in and take over this part of the Department of Education.

By giving the MPA uncontrolled reins over extracurricular events, we can no longer control or monitor our children’s extracurricular events. And this has been done without our votes or our permission.

The MPA must be reined in and boxed. It is out of control.

Even though constituents say they want this right of choice for their children, the MPA says no.

The association says it is concerned about homeschoolers being free agents who can be recruited to play for the best teams if they aren’t forced to play only for their local public schools, and that homeschoolers will only play for the best teams. But, if you look at the facts of homeschoolers who have played for private schools, you will find this isn’t the case.

These small schools don’t have facilities, let alone very good teams. And those who have played with these teams, such as my son and now my daughters, started out with these teams in their junior high years. In my family’s case, each in 5th grade.

Homeschoolers tend to play for little schools like Windham Christian, Greater Portland Christian and Eastgate. All are small schools that, if it weren’t for the occasional homeschooled child in their area playing on their team, wouldn’t have enough children to make up a team. Eastgate wouldn’t have been able to play junior high girls basketball this year if my daughters hadn’t played last year.

And, to address my children’s educational performance, I’m accountable via standardized testing and quarterly grades to prove that my children are meeting scholastic standards held by Eastgate.

Secondly, I find it sad that while they worry about a few homeschoolers on these little local teams the MPA isn’t doing anything to make things fair in class D where little local teams fall.

If you look at the stats, the majority of the other teams these small local school teams are playing in class D are what are known in Maine as nonsectarian private/public schools such as Wayneflete, Elan, Avery, Hyde, Hinckley, Kents Hill, Gould Academy, Hebron Academy, Lincoln Academy, Fryeburg Academy and Cheverus. While these school teams are made up of some local students who live in tuitioned out districts, many of their students come from out of state.

If recruitment should be looked into and worried about, it should be here where money flows from private and public coffers for scholarships as well as other perks. And where schools actively work at getting out-of-staters to come attend schools in Maine.

It’s time the MPA put some equality back into the way this whole thing is looked at. If this association truely wants all children to participate it will allow parents freedom of choice, wherever that may land them.

Paula Stotts of Mechanic Falls has homeschooled her four children for the past decade.

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