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January 3, 2017

Diploma Showdown at the Kid Corral

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Two Arizona women were recently notified that they would need to take the GED or quit their jobs.

Darren Jones by Darren Jones
Litigation attorney

Why? When the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Child Care Licensing Division audited two licensed day care programs, they found that while these two employees had homeschool diplomas, neither had a “certified” diploma.

In the wake of this announcement, one woman was demoted and the other ended up leaving her job. Frustrated, they both contacted Home School Legal Defense Association.

HSLDA wrote a letter to the Department of Health Services explaining that homeschool graduates already meet the requirements for these types of positions. Since Arizona does not require homeschools to be accredited, a diploma does not need to be from an accredited school to serve as evidence of the completion of high school. There was no need for these women to take the GED in order to meet the qualifications for their positions.

We also pointed out to officials that many federal agencies recognize the legitimacy of homeschool credentials, and we recommended that ADHS follow their example.

After sending two letters about this issue and still not receiving a response, we asked Tom Lewis, a legislative liaison for Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE), to help us locally.

At a recent meeting with ADHS and a homeschool-friendly Arizona state senator, Lewis discussed options for finding a permanent solution to the problem. Since changes to statutes and codes require a long process, HSLDA is still seeking an agreement that allows homeschool graduates to continue working at these child care facilities in the meantime.

HSLDA and AFHE continue to work to adopt a policy that will accept homeschool graduates, and with key legislators to consider legal reforms. We hope this issue will be resolved soon.