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No. 4

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Harmful Bill Defeated

Senate Bill 56 was introduced in the Louisiana State Legislature on March 27, 2006, the first day of the legislative session. This bill simply stated that a high school diploma issued by unapproved private schools would be considered equal to a general equivalency diploma (GED), a document that high school dropouts often secure in place of a diploma. The bill would have relegated any diploma issued by a homeschooling parent operating as a private school in Louisiana to the same level as a GED.

Currently, under Louisiana law, homeschooling parents who file as private schools can issue diplomas to their graduates. Since these diplomas are issued by a legally operating private school, they generally are accepted as proof of high school graduation. As a result, homeschool families have generally encountered little or no difficulty when presenting their child's diploma to prospective employers or college admissions personnel.

After learning of S.B. 56, Home School Legal Defense Association and Christian Home Educators Fellowship (CHEF) of Louisiana quickly discussed several options for protecting the status of homeschool diplomas. After settling on a plan of action, CHEF contacted the sponsor of S.B. 56 and learned that at least one large traditional private school had requested the bill to remedy some problems their students had been experiencing. As a result, Beryl Amedée of CHEF met with S.B. 56’s sponsor and those who had requested the bill (including representatives of a large private school) to explain homeschoolers’ concerns. In the meeting, Mrs. Amedée proposed that the bill be amended to say that all

private school diplomas would be officially recognized by the state. Although the amendment was not accepted, the sponsor did agree to withdraw the bill entirely! We believe the sponsor made this decision due to the fact that both CHEF and HSLDA would have strenuously opposed the bill.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt