HSLDA
August 2, 2004

Homeschoolers Continue to Excel in the Military

The homeschool military access pilot project, enacted by Congress after HSLDA asked Congressman Hostettler to intervene on behalf of homeschoolers, enters its sixth year. It requires the military to admit a certain number of homeschoolers into Tier I, which is the same level as high school graduates and the Tier which most new recruits enter. The amendment has allowed homeschoolers to gain numerous advantages and benefits in the military since Tier II and Tier III offer only limited access to advancement because they are designed for students who have dropped out of high school. HSLDA's website includes a list of many homeschoolers who have served America in Iraq and a significant number of homeschoolers have excelled under the new recruitment process.

For example, one homeschooler from Seattle, Washington, was recently accepted into the Navy after scoring 94% on the Navy Advanced Training Exam in trigonometry, physics, and chemistry. He also took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and in one part gained a perfect score. To be considered for the Navy Nuclear Power School requires a combined score from all aspects of the ASVAB of 250. He scored 262, the maximum being 280. After about five hours of academic tests, and seven plus hours of medical exams, standing in line, fingerprinting and interviews, he has been accepted as a volunteer into the Navy Nuclear Power School. In addition, he received a $15,000 signing bonus and his pay will be at a higher scale. He has been told that working with submarines and nuclear weapons attract the top 3% of the Navy.

We praise God for the success of this young homeschooler that demonstrates once again the importance of maintaining access for homeschoolers at Tier I. To ensure that this program continues we are working closely with Congress. An amendment to extend the pilot project for one more year has been added to this year's military reauthorization bill. The purpose is to gather accurate statistics to prove that homeschoolers are not dropouts from the military. The first body of research that was released by the Center for Naval Research indicates that homeschoolers who score below the 50 percentile mark on the ASVAB test tend to drop out at a higher rate than high school graduates. We believe that these statistics are skewed since the military has had trouble with frauds who gain entrance into the various branches of the military disguised as homeschoolers. HSLDA has worked with the Army recruiting command to create a policy for all four branches of the military that would better scrutinize the homeschoolers who seek enlistment to more accurately determine if in fact, they are homeschoolers. The process is not burdensome, but it will certainly ferret out the frauds. This policy was implemented in September 2003. Our hope is that the extension for the military access project for one year will enable the Center for Analysis to complete new research based on a group of 2004 recruits which is representative of all homeschoolers, without the impact of frauds. We will continue to monitor this situation.