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Louisiana Considers Equalizing ACT Score Requirements for TOPS Scholarships

BATON ROUGE, La. - A proposed bill in Louisiana may soon level the playing field for homeschooled students seeking TOPS scholarships, aligning their ACT score requirements with those of their peers in traditional educational settings.

Currently, homeschooled students are mandated to achieve scores at least two points higher than their non-homeschooled counterparts to qualify for TOPS scholarships. However, House Bill 68, championed by Rep. Brian Glorioso (R-Slidell), aims to eliminate this discrepancy, establishing uniform ACT score requirements for all students, regardless of their educational background.

Rep. Glorioso emphasized the bill's goal of equality, stating, "All this does is make it equal for all students whether you go to homeschool, public school, or private school, it makes the ACT score the same for everyone."

The existing ACT score requirements for the four TOPS scholarships are as follows: TOPS Tech - 17, TOPS Opportunity - 20, TOPS Performance - 23, and TOPS Honors - 27.

The current rule imposing higher score thresholds for homeschooled students dates back over a decade, predating standards set by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for homeschool curriculum. Now, with BESE ensuring that homeschooling curricula meet or exceed those of traditional schools, Rep. Glorioso argues that the differential requirement is unwarranted.

BESE has taken a neutral stance on the bill, but Stacey Melerine, a BESE Region 4 board member, voiced support for its passage, emphasizing the importance of aligning standards across all educational pathways.

"Right now, our board is focused on implementing parental choice in our kids’ education and we’d like to make the standards attainable the same across the board. There’s no reason that our homeschooled students should be held to a higher standard than what we expect of our public school students," Melerine stated.

With homeschooling gaining popularity, proponents of the bill argue that it reflects the evolving educational landscape and ensures equitable opportunities for all students. The bill unanimously passed out of the House Education Committee and now awaits further deliberation on the House floor.


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