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11/10/2003 3:01:14 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New York--Calls Needed To The NY Board Of Regents To Stop Homeschool Discrimination

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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November 10, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Do you want your child to have the option of attending college in New
York someday? Do you want a homeschool diploma to mean something?

If your answers are yes then we need you to continue to contact the
Board of Regents in order to stop the unnecessary discrimination
against homeschool graduates seeking admission to colleges in New
York. This past June, many of you contacted them. Although they heard
us, there is still no change.

New York is the only state with a statewide policy requiring
homeschool graduates to obtain a GED or a letter of recognition from
their local public school district to gain admission to college.

Even homeschoolers already in college must now pass the GED test to
graduate!

Let's stop this discrimination by informing the Board of Regents, who
govern the college system in New York and ask them to change this
policy now.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please contact your Board of Regent and at-large members and deliver
this message:

"Please immediately rescind the policy issued by the Deputy
Commissioner of Higher Education (Oct. 11, 2002) regarding homeschool
graduates seeking admission to college and financial aid. This policy
discriminates against students with homeschool diplomas and forces
them to obtain a letter of recognition from the public school (who
usually do not give these letters) or obtain a GED. A GED carries
the stigma of a drop out; homeschool graduates are high school
graduates."

Write or call the Board of Regents below:

Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor - Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua,
Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming
201 Millwood Lane
Tonawanda, NY 14150
Phone: (716) 694-6783

Adelaide L. Sanford, Vice Chancellor - At Large
New York State Education Department
55 Hanson Place
Brooklyn, NY 11217-1580
Phone: (718) 722-2807

Diane O'Neill McGivern - Kings and Richmond
95 West Entry Road, Country Club Grounds
Staten Island, NY 10304
Phone: (718) 667-6334

Saul B. Cohen - At Large
82 Taymil Road
New Rochelle, NY 10804
Phone: (914) 633-7889

James C. Dawson - Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton,
Montgomery, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren and
Washington
2 Birchwood Drive
Peru, NY 12972
Phone: (518) 643-9289

Robert M. Johnson - Nassau and Suffolk
2 Skunk Hollow Road
Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (212) 229-7200

Anthony S. Bottar - Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, and
Oswego
407 South Warren Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
Phone: (315) 422-3466

Merryl H. Tisch - At Large
9 East 79th Street
New York, N.Y. 10021
Phone: (212) 879-9414

Geraldine Chapey, - Queens
107-10 Shore Front Parkway, Apt. 9C
Belle Harbor, NY 11694
Phone: (718) 634-8471

Arnold B. Gardner - At Large
120 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, N.Y. 14202
Phone: (716) 845-6000

Harry Phillips III - Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland and
Westchester
71 Hawthorne Way
Hartsdale, NY 10530
Phone: (914) 948-2228

Joseph E. Bowman, Jr.- Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer,
Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster
ED 124, School of Education, University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
Phone: (518) 442-4987

Lorraine A. Cortes-Vazquez - Bronx
130 William Street, 9th Floor
Manhattan, N.Y. 10038
Phone (212) 233-8955

Judith O. Rubin Judicial District I - New York
911 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Phone (212) 535-6942

James R. Tallon, Jr - Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware,
Madison, Otsego, Schuyler, Tioga, Tompkins
United Hospital Fund, Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue, 23rd Floor
New York, N.Y. 10118-0110
Phone (212) 494-0777

Milton L. Cofield - Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca,
Steuben, Wayne, Yates
98 Hickory Ridge Road
Rochester, N.Y. 14625
Phone (585) 248-8494

BACKGROUND

Beginning in the 2002-03 school year, homeschoolers are experiencing
an increase in discrimination due to the implementation of a
previously dormant New York State Education Department policy. This
policy is preventing colleges from recognizing a 9-12 grade
homeschool education as being sufficient to enroll in either a State
University of New York or community college.

A private diploma issued by the parent, which millions of homeschool
students across the U.S. receive, is not recognized by the state of
New York. The Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education issued a policy
statement October 2002 saying a homeschooler must produce either a
GED, a letter from their school district recognizing the legitimacy
of their academic program, or they must enroll in a special GED
program that requires completion of 24 specific credit hours in
college.

Homeschoolers often do not want to obtain a GED since it carries the
stigma of a dropout. Homeschoolers are not dropouts; they are
completing a full high school education. In addition, most school
districts refuse to provide documentation legitimizing a homeschool
education because of the liabilities involved. They will not
recognize any homeschool program as sufficient, even if the family
has followed the requirements of the law. The "special" GED option is
difficult for many homeschool students who do not want to take all of
the 24 credit hours required. This makes it difficult for them to
complete their majors in fields other than those covered by the 24
credit hours.

Homeschoolers are also facing colleges who refuse to grant them
financial aid, even though they are eligible. Although there are some
state-specific grants and financial aid monies available governed by
state law, many of these colleges are violating the federal Higher
Education Act, which clearly states that any student who "has
completed a high school education in a homeschool setting" is
eligible for federal financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education
allows for homeschoolers to self-certify their homeschool diplomas.
Colleges should ask no further questions and place no additional
obstacles before homeschoolers seeking financial aid.

The Home School Legal Defense Association has represented many
homeschool graduates who are refused entry into state colleges. All
studies completed at this point show that homeschoolers generally
score above average on standardized achievement tests at both
elementary and secondary levels. Furthermore, studies completed at
universities show that homeschool graduates have higher grade point
averages than graduates from traditional schools. This demonstrates
only one thing: homeschooling works.

HSLDA recently filed suit against the state in Owens v. Parrinello to
help those homeschoolers who are already admitted into college. This
case involves Paul Owens, a homeschool graduate attending Monroe
Community College in Rochester, New York, who was notified recently
that his admission to the Marketing program had been revoked because
he had been homeschooled.

We are working with New York's Loving Education At Home (LEAH) at
three levels:

1) Litigation: the Owens case to help those students already in
college.

2) Legislation: we drafted legislation which will be introduced next
year to change this discriminatory policy. We have recently located
sponsors.

3) Convince the Board of Regents by grassroots pressure to
voluntarily rescind their policy and write up new favorable
regulations. We have met with the Deputy Commissioner of Education
and others to inform them of the current discrimination against
homeschoolers. They have made promises to submit a proposal to the
Board of Regents to end the discrimination but none has been
submitted thus far.

Your calls will show the Board of Regents of the immediate need to
end the discrimination against homeschoolers.

State universities and community colleges in New York should be open
to all students. Thanks for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel


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