Louisiana House Bill 634 has been sent to the governor for signature: Status: SENT TO THE GOVERNOR Updated: 6/29/2007 (use search term HB 634)
Background on bill:
House panel OKs TOPS bill, The Advocate, 13 June 2007, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Arguing that home-schooled students are not “roving bands of truants,” a House committee agreed Tuesday that students being taught at home should more easily qualify for TOPS college tuition awards.
Currently, students must score at least a 20 on the ACT to benefit from the Tuition Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS, but home-schooled students must score at least 22. House Bill 634 would change it to a 21 ACT for home-schooled students.
Since home-schooled children do not have to take foreign language, computer science and other classes required in the state core curriculum, Savoie said, families could exaggerate ACT preparation at the expense of additional coursework.
One legislator questioned if Scalise’s legislation gives home-schooled students an unfair advantage over regular students.
“Haven’t we now created reverse discrimination?” said Rep. Hollis Downs, R-Ruston,
I hardly see how it’s discrimination against school students if the homeschooled applicants meet the testing requirement. There’s a rule; you meet it; you’re in.
I do understand part of the quibbling about completion of a course of study. The military also correlated completion of a course of study in a school to indicate a higher tendency to complete basic training. I don’t know if completion of degrees is comparable to completion of military training, though. (not being a smart alec, I just don’t know) Is there a pilot program planned to see whether homeschoolers are worthy? It could be a 5-year project for a research department at one of the universities.
The TOPS requirements are listed online:
TOPS has four components: the Opportunity Award, the Performance Award, the Honors Award and the Teacher Award. Each award has specific eligibility and selection criteria, including high school grade point average, ACT score, graduating rank, and completion of a specified college preparatory core curriculum. The Teacher Award is designed for undergraduate students who intend to teach in a Louisiana elementary or secondary school upon graduation.
I can see why this award is valuable to anyone who qualifies for it:
TOPS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, page 7:
Q-33. What is the value of a TOPS award?
A. It depends on the college attended and the award made to the student. The total value of a TOPS Honors Award for attendance at LSU in Baton Rouge for four years, based on the tuition for the 2006-2007 academic year, would be $16,512. Current year tuition amounts are listed by institution on the student’s award letter.
The rules for the “core curriculum” (a program requirement) may not be waived for Louisiana residents, but out of state applicants do not have to comply with the core curriculum requirement. It would seem that this particular section could be adjusted, or that homeschooled applicants could be allowed to apply under this section:
TOPS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, page 16:
Q-80. Is a student who graduates from an out-of-state or an out-of-country high school required to meet the TOPS core curriculum requirements to be eligible for a TOPS Award?
A. Students who graduate from out-of-state or out-of country high schools* are NOT required to meet the core curriculum requirements to qualify for a TOPS Award. However, the student must have an ACT (SAT) score of at least 20 for TOPS Tech and at least a 23 for Opportunity, 26 for Performance and 30 for Honors.
Oh, well. It’s done now.
Our Views: Home school rule for TOPS, 21 June 2007, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Advocates for home-schooled students have, almost by their nature, a grievance against the educational establishment.
Home study is regulated because the state grants diplomas and administers accountability tests, so the hand of the state is on even those who, by choosing home-schooling, obviously want something quite different from what state or even private schools have to offer. Over time, though, the home-school student population has settled in as a small part of the student mix.
Wrong on both counts. Advocates for homeschoolers don’t have a natural grievance — as if the various methods of learning are antagonists. Like everyone else, we just don’t like being messed with. And home study is not regulated because of individual accountability to the people of the state. The rationale for oversight of public schools — accountability because they use tax dollars — is applied to why parents teaching their children need regulation, even though those parents are paying their taxes without using education funds for their children.
The following is Louisiana commentary on the education bill:
- Daily Kingfish: Senator Ullo, Ladies and Gentleman… ['casual discussion;' language warning for the sensitive]
- Homeschool and TOPS, with Dan Richey and Gene Mills (Louisiana Family Forum) on YouTube
posted by Valerie