HSLDA Fights for Homeschooled Military Enlistees
By Will Estrada
Federal Relations Director
May 5, 2011
It is well known that homeschool graduates have served their nation with distinction—as past presidents, as members of state legislatures, and in the U.S. Congress. But homeschool graduates have also made a tremendous difference fighting for our nation in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Unfortunately, it has not always been easy for homeschool graduates to enlist in the Armed Forces. Over the years, HSLDA has fought to ensure that these young patriots are able to serve their country.
In 1998, after homeschoolers encountered increased difficulties while trying to enlist, HSLDA worked with Congress and the Department of Defense to conduct a five-year pilot program of homeschool enlistment. Although homeschool graduates were able to enlist as Tier 1 recruits (the military’s highest enlistment option) during this time, the results of the study were not positive due to numerous inaccuracies. After HSLDA challenged the results of the study, the Department of Defense commissioned a new four-year study on May 31, 2007. This study—which was set to expire September 30, 2011—has also ensured that most homeschool graduates are able to enlist as Tier 1 recruits.
As the deadline drew nearer, HSLDA grew concerned that homeschoolers might once again face hardships as they attempt to enlist after the end of the study. We had not heard from the Department of Defense about whether officials would end the program on September 30, or even if the results of this study had been positive for homeschoolers.
In early April, HSLDA President Mike Smith and our Federal Relations team met with Department of Defense officials at the Pentagon to discuss this issue. While the officials said that they did not know the results of the study, they made it clear that they did not want to harm patriotic homeschool graduates. They promised us that they would look into the possibility of extending the current policy until more information was known about the study.
We are excited to announce that on May 2, the Pentagon officially extended the current policy, ensuring that most homeschool graduates will be able to enlist as Tier 1 recruits through September 30, 2012. HSLDA applauds this move and is very grateful to the Department of Defense for extending the pilot program for another year. We will continue to work to ensure that homeschoolers are able to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces over the long term.
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