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An Indiana-based company has decided not to hire any homeschool graduates, withdrawing a job offer from one candidate after discovering he was home educated, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association.
That’s despite the fact that assessments and evaluations for homeschool students routinely run higher than for public-school students.
The decision was based on the company’s interpretation of state law.
Donnelly said he was told by NiSource legal counsel Adele O’Connor that the company “disagrees with the conclusions in your letter as to the legal requirements regarding a diploma,” established in Chapter 3313 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Donnelly, argued, however, that the section applies to public and chartered private schools, not homeschools.
“NiSource is wrongly using Ohio law as an excuse to defend its discriminatory hiring policy,” Donnelly said. “There is simply no legal impediment to NiSource hiring a homeschool graduate – especially the one in question here.”
He said Ohio law “clearly recognizes homeschooling as a legal and valid educational option.”
“To rescind an offer of employment to an otherwise qualified and experienced applicant who received a legally recognized education is unreasonable and discriminatory,” Donnelly said.
He explained that HSLDA got involved when the company, after having initially offered a job to the applicant, whose name was being withheld, withdrew the offer.
The organization wrote letters to the company explaining the benefits and validity of homeschooling, without results.
“In addition to graduating from homeschool in compliance with Ohio law, this applicant had years of relevant job experience and several key industry certifications. During his last two years of high school the applicant took seven courses at a recognized state college and made the dean’s list,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly said HSLDA has been working with homeschool advocates in Ohio to seek legislative action to “prevent this kind of discrimination.”
“The problem may indicate more than just discrimination against homeschoolers,” he said.
“This situation reflects the precise concern that motivates HSLDA’s opposition to the Common Core and its ‘college- and career-ready’ standards – that qualified homeschool graduates who don’t have a state-issued credential will be discriminated against in employment decisions.”
He said HSLDA opposes Common Core because it creates a system based on nationalized standards, assessment and data collection that could negatively affect homeschool graduates and job seekers.
“Research indicates that homeschooled students are well prepared academically and socially for careers and college,” Donnelly argued. “Hiring decisions should be made based on an individual’s qualifications, not a policy that discriminates against an entire class of people based on how they were educated.”
He added that HSLDA “affirms the right of private companies to create their own hiring policies, which may include evaluating the academic credentials of prospective applicants.”
“However, NiSource’s discriminatory practice reflects a narrow-minded and statist view of education that is inconsistent with the values of a free society.”
NiSource responded to a WND request for comment after the story was posted online, stating, “We support the pursuit of non-traditional education. Across NiSource, we’re pleased to hire homeschooled candidates with a GED or officially recognized diploma. Like other hiring requirements, we need a recognized, objective, across-the-board means to verify educational qualifications.”
Home-school.com notes that in public schools, the average scores for reading, language and math is at 50 percent.
But homeschoolers score in the 89 percentile in reading, 84th in language, 84th in math and 86th in science.
As college freshman, they carry a grade point average of 3.41, compared to the 3.12 for other students. As seniors, they outscore others 3.46 to 3.16.
According to the National Home Education Research Institute, “Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parents’ level of formal education,” and they also “typically score above average on the SAT and ACT tests.”
“The research based on adults who were home educate is growing; thus far it indicates that they: participate in local community service more frequently than does the general population, vote and attend public meetings more frequently than the general population, and go to and succeed at college at an equal or higher rate than the general population.”
HSLDA’s own pages of stats on home education reveal that in Pennsylvania, homeschooled students on the state standardized test scored in the 89th percentile for reading, 87th for science and 81st for social studies.
The report said: “Homeschooling works. Even many of the State Departments of Education, which are generally biased toward the public school system, cannot argue with these facts. Not only does homeschooling work, but it works without the myriad of state controls and accreditation standards imposed on the public schools.”