Athlete academic standards could yield surprising result

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Dear Editor,

At the 12 July 2021 School Board meeting, the Board entertained a first reading of a proposal to allow home school students to play on sports teams from schools in the Glendive Public School system. The board heard discussion that raised concerns about potential inequities regarding academic and moral qualifications of home schooled students, who might be evaluated only by their parents. Regarding academic evaluations, the Board might consider requiring home schooled students to present results of the three Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) tests for qualification to participate in varsity sports.

Public school students, statewide, take the ESSA test in the spring of their sophomore year. Home schooled students could voluntarily participate in the ESSA testing, and results could be certified by the County Superintendent (who administers other home schooling qualifications). Potential student athletes could be required to obtain at least “Nearing Proficient” scores on each of the three tests, Mathematics, Reading, and Science. “Nearing Proficient” is less than average, but not the lowest and miserable classification of “Novice.”

To avoid complaints of bias, this qualification could be applied to any student desiring to compete in a varsity sport on a Dawson County High School team. Of course, making it a universal qualification would disqualify at least 42% of Dawson County High School’s 2022 graduating class, because they received “Novice” classification on the 2019 testing for Mathematics!


Jon Fitch