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South Carolina
Bill threatens high school diplomas

A bill passed by the House of Representatives and now in the Senate threatens the recognition of high school diplomas earned through home schooling. According to Representative Ronald P. Townsend, Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, House Bill 3364 affects only diplomas earned through a correspondence program. However, because the language of the bill is confusing and ambiguous, Home School Legal Defense Association believes that state bureaucrats and judges can easily interpret it to apply to all high school diplomas. Even if the bill were to affect only correspondence diplomas, many home schooling families are enrolled in academically-sound correspondence programs that would not meet the requirements of this bill.

According to H.B. 3364, the diploma or its equivalent must be received from either (1) a correspondence program approved by the state board or department of education in the state where the school is located, (2) a school accredited by certain accrediting associations named in the bill, or (3) a school approved by a local school board in South Carolina. These requirements would apply "[i]f any state licensing, appointment, election, admission, employment, or other procedure or process requires the applicant, candidate, official or individual to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent…."

Passage of House Bill 3364 would directly affect home school graduates. Unless their high school diplomas meet one of the three requirements described above, they could not be admitted to a state college or other state school requiring a high school diploma, could not be hired to work for a state agency, and could not receive any state license requiring a high school diploma. Given the broad language of the bill, which mandates that these requirements be applied to any "other procedure or process," the potential for discrimination against home school graduates by the state is virtually unlimited.

HSLDA member families are requested to contact their state senators expressing their opposition to this bill.

- Dewitt T. Black