Jordan hinders college education
The Jordan School District recently hit a new low in the long running conflict between public schools and homeschoolers. The district kept a 17-year-old homeschool student from attending the local community college for the fall semester.
Salt Lake Community College was eager to admit Matthew Kent* as an incoming student, but wanted verification that Matthew had completed high school. HSLDA promptly sent a copy of the United States Department of Education (DOE)'s letter, which clarifies that homeschoolers may "self-certify" the completion of their program. Unfortunately, the official at Salt Lake Community College asked the family to get a letter from their school district stating that Matthew had been homeschooled in compliance with the district's policies. The family has homeschooled in Utah for seven years and has always complied with the district's policies. Each year, the Kents registered and received approval from Jordan School District. Now, however, when they requested some proof of completion from the district, they were denied. Jordan took the position that a child cannot "graduate" from homeschool until he turns 18.
Home School Legal Defense Association Attorney Scott Somerville promptly wrote Jordan School District and Salt Lake Community College a letter showing that Matthew had far exceeded the specific high school requirements for graduation that are listed on Jordan's Annual Application for Home School. Despite this, Jordan refused to budge.
The Salt Lake Community College official made it clear that he wanted to admit Matthew as a student, but was afraid that if he did so without having Jordan "release" him from high school, the district might prosecute. Salt Lake contacted the Utah Department of Education, who called the Attorney General's office. As these officials conferred about the problems Jordan created by refusing to release him, Matthew was out of school altogether. Instead of getting further education, he got a job.
On September 25 (well after the fall semester had begun), Mrs. Kent got some good news. The Salt Lake Community College official told her that he had called the U.S. DOE that very day, and Matthew was now "matriculated as of this afternoon." Unfortunately, he also said that this only applied to Matthew: other students in the Jordan School District would still face the same problem.
Matthew expects to be on campus by winter, but HSLDA expects to be dealing with the Jordan School District for years to come.
— Scott W. Somerville
*Name changed to protect family's privacy.