Saturday, May 09, 2009

Conformity and homeschool diplomas

Tennessee appears ready to pass a bill which gives a homeschool diploma the same weight as a public high school diploma.
The proposal sponsored by Rep. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, would require that all state and local governmental entities recognize diplomas issued by home schools and church-related schools as having the same rights and privileges of diplomas issued by public school systems. .
While this bill seems necessary to prevent discrimination in state employment, I do wonder if the law of unintended consequences may have some Tennessee homeschoolers regretting the legisation in the long run. Once a homeschool diploma gets the state's seal of approval, in order to be consistent state education officials may require homeschool graduates to prove that the education they received from their parents met the same "rigorous" standards of their public school counterparts - potentially adding further regulations on an already over regulated homeschool state.

Diploma controversies will likely become an even greater issue as states move toward adopting national standards under President Obama. Obama's Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, made it crystal clear that this administration supports national standards.

If we accomplish one thing in the coming years—it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America.

I know that talking about standards can make people nervous—but the notion that we have fifty different goalposts is absolutely ridiculous.

A high school diploma needs to mean something—no matter where it's from."

Translation: A diploma coming from any school (including a homeschool) that refuses to conform to the national standard is useless. After all, what parent wouldn't want their child to receive a federal diploma backed by the United States government complete with the Barack Obama seal of approval?

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