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In a tie-breaking vote, the Modesto City School Board adopted a
policy denying course credit to home-schooled students who transfer to a
public high school, effectively requiring the students to repeat their
secondary education.

The vote came Tuesday when the seven-member board discussed the
proposal for the third time at a regular monthly meeting.

Associate Superintendent Wendell Chun said a formal policy is needed
due to an increasing number of home-schooled students transferring to
public high schools.

“We just want to maintain the quality of our diploma,” he told the
Modesto Bee.

Some home-schooled students transfer to public or private high
schools as they approach graduation in order to receive a
“comprehensive” diploma. Under the new policy, Modesto public schools
will not accept credits obtained through completed home school courses,
requiring students to repeat classes.

Students who are home-schooled under the direction of a charter
school are an exception to the new policy, since the largely independent
charter schools set standards and monitor students’ progress.

School Board President Ricardo Cordova, who supported the policy, is
quoted in the Bee saying, “There’s just too much room for abuse.”

Cindy Marks, one of the three board members who opposed the
controversial measure, told WorldNetDaily she believes the policy is
unfair.

“This policy is very unfair to a very small number of students who
would like a comprehensive high school diploma,” she said.

Home-schooled students may still take the California proficiency exam
or the federal General Educational Development Test — known as the GED
– allowing them to graduate from high school without transferring to an
institutional school. But neither option carries the societal weight of
a “comprehensive” diploma earned by completion of a traditional
four-year high school program.

Parents of home-schooled children believe the district’s new policy
belittles their children’s education. Additionally, it constitutes a
discriminatory practice, they say, since students who immigrate to the
U.S. from other countries are given credit as a result of individual
evaluations — a practice that is no longer an option for home-schooled
students.

Previously, home-schooled transfer students were evaluated on a
case-by-case basis by high school administrators, which occasionally
resulted in transfer denials.

At the hearing, members of the public were allowed five minutes each
to voice their objections. Three people provided their input which
included a suggested policy for the acceptance of home-school credits.

According to Marks, the board did not consider the alternative before
it approved its prohibitive policy.

“Our primary objective as a school board is to provide the best
possible education to all the students in our district without
prejudice,” Marks continued. “I’d like to see our board have a process
by which the home schoolers and non-accredited private school students
can be evaluated based on their course work and tests to receive
credit.”

Copies of the new policy have been sent to all district principals.

Attorney Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, is ready
to present a legal challenge to the policy.

“We are disappointed with the school board’s decision and are hopeful
that they will amend the policy in the not too distant future,” he said.
“In the mean time, we are offering to represent formerly home schooled
students who, for no fault of their own, may suffer great unnecessary
harm due to merely the fact that they have been home schooled.”


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