|| LEGAL/LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
ACROSS THE STATES
Colleges weigh admissions standards
Homeschooling parents may want to fine-tune their high school programs if Indiana public four-year colleges follow the Education Roundtable's recommendation to require college applicants to take the Core 40 subjects or "the documented equivalent" to qualify for admission and financial aid.
The Roundtable is a state policy board that has authority to recommendbut not mandatechanges to public education in Indiana. It formally made the recommendation on October 12, 2004. While it did not initially allow for "the documented equivalent," the Roundtable added this language after Home School Legal Defense Association objected to the previous wording, concerned that strictly requiring the Core 40 subjects could create barriers for homeschool graduates.
To protect our members' rights, HSLDA is writing to all public four-year colleges in Indiana, reminding them that if they intend to follow the Roundtable's recommendation, they must also abide by the "documented equivalent" language. This will give parents and college administrators flexibility, since homeschool subjects are often different in name and content from comparable subjects in public school.
The Roundtable has recommended that the Core 40 or "the documented equivalent" be required beginning with the class that will graduate from high school in 2011 (currently 6th graders). The Indiana Department of Education lists the Core 40 subjects at http://www.doe.state.in.us/asap/core40.htm. Some colleges already expect applicants to have completed the Core 40; others expect even more.
Before your student starts 9th grade, check the websites of a dozen or so colleges he might want to attend and see what subjects are required or recommended. Planning your student's high school program to include those subjects can help him gain admission to the college of his choice.
Benton misapplies withdrawal law
In the summer of 2004, a Home School Legal Defense Association member family sent a letter of withdrawal to their daughter's high school principal in Benton County. The family was moving to Florida and intended to homeschool their daughter there. However, the principal told the family that the daughter's driver's license would be suspended until she enrolled in another public school and provided him with proof of enrollment.
After the family moved to Florida and notified their new school district (as per Florida homeschool law) of their intent to homeschool, the daughter applied for a state identification card. Much to her chagrin, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) told her she could not obtain an identification card because her license was still suspended in Indiana.
The member family telephoned HSLDA for help, and we promptly called the principal to find out if there was some mistake. The principal cited a state law that he had been trying to follow when he ordered the license suspended, requiring DMV to withhold the driver's license of a student who is withdrawing without a lawful excuse. However, the daughter's excuse was lawful on more than one count.
HSLDA explained that the principal had no jurisdiction over the daughter now that she resided in Florida, and that her homeschool program was sufficient to be recognized as a private school in both Indiana and Florida. But the principal insisted that, according to the state attendance officer, he had no other choice in the matter until he received proof of the daughter's homeschool education.
HSLDA telephoned the Indiana State Attendance Officer. After a short narrative of the family's situation, the attendance officer completely agreed with HSLDA and apologized for the principal's mistake. He assured us that this situation had never happened before and would not happen again.
As a result, the principal retracted the license suspension. The daughter has now obtained her Florida identification card and her license has been reinstated.
by Scott A. Woodruff