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9/27/2004 11:44:52 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New York--Breakthrough for Homeschoolers Seeking Admission to New York Colleges

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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September 27, 2004


New York--Breakthrough for Homeschoolers Seeking Admission to New York
Colleges


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Due to your persistent phone calls and the teamwork of Home School
Legal Defense Association and Loving Education at Home (LEAH),
significant progress has been made to end the discrimination against
homeschoolers seeking admission to New York colleges! The breakthrough
has come in the form of new rules regarding college admission for
homeschoolers which were adopted this month.

For the last 2 years, homeschool students have been discriminated
against when attempting to be admitted and graduating from New York
colleges and universities. A memo from the State Education Department
revived a requirement that all college students must have a recognized
high school diploma. In the case of homeschoolers this would mean
gaining a GED; an exam designed for high school dropouts.

HSLDA and LEAH worked quickly to develop a three pronged approach to
change this situation. First, we filed a lawsuit for those homeschool
students who were already in college and being denied the ability to
graduate. This lawsuit put significant pressure on the Board of
Regents to end the discrimination.

Second, we drafted and introduced legislation designed to provide
alternatives to homeschool graduates interested in attending college
in New York. The bill, SB 6849 passed the Senate and was introduced in
the Assembly, which also increased the pressure on the Board of
Regents to fix the problem.

The final prong in the defense involved a grassroots effort to educate
and inform the Board of Regents of the problems that homeschool
students have been facing and convincing them to change the current
policy.

After receiving thousands of calls and letters the Board of Regents
heard the need for change and voted in favor of amending the Board of
Regents Rule 3.47 in their September 2004 meeting.

These changes will enable a homeschool student to be treated as any
other applicant seeking admission to a community college or university
in New York. The rules have been changed to provide several different
options for homeschool students to demonstrate satisfactory evidence
of their preliminary (high school) education.

No more discriminatory barriers for homeschoolers seeking admission.
They only need to meet the same SAT or ACT scores and eligibility
requirements as other students to gain entrance to college.

Once a homeschooler enters college they have to meet one of several
options to graduate from college:

1) complete the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school
course, as certified by the superintendent or other school district
official,

2) complete 18 semester hours or the equivalent (such as CLEP credit)
in specific subjects (required for nearly ALL students anyway) and 6
more credits in the student's major. No stigma attached to "earning" a
GED in the student's academic record,

3) pass the Regents exams in English, Mathematics, U.S. History and
Government, Science and Global History and Geography. This option was
included at the request of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT),
not HSLDA or LEAH. Since the Regents exams are based upon New York
state content standards, in order for a homeschool student to pass
these exams they would have to study the curriculum found in the
public schools,

4) present a previously earned and be granted a degree from an
institution accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. Dept. of Ed.,

OR

5) pass a GED exam.

For more information on the amendments to Rule 3.47 see
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1836

In addition, the amended Rule would allow homeschool students to
attend the local community college full-time while they are still of
compulsory attendance age and have not finished high school. The
Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) form would be required to
include a statement to this effect and identify the college and the
subjects to be covered by that study.

HSLDA has been in contact with the chairman of the Board of Regents
and the State Education Department throughout this process and urged
the adoption of these changes.

We will continue to provide input on how these options can be put into
effect. The next step is for the Department of Education to publish
guidelines for these new rules. We have been promised an opportunity
to review the guidelines draft before publication to ensure proper
implementation.

We will keep you informed. Thanks again for your calls and letters
that made this breakthrough possible.


Sincerely,

Chris Klicka
Senior Counsel
Home School Legal Defense Association



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