May 13, 2002

South Carolina Diploma Bill Dies

As a result of an outpouring of opposition by home educators, a subcommittee of the South Carolina Senate Education Committee voted 5-0 to table House Bill 3364, effectively killing this bill for the current legislative session. Home School Legal Defense Association believed that this legislation could have prevented home school graduates from being admitted to college, getting a job with a state agency, receiving a license to practice a vocation, and other important life opportunities. An estimated 750 home schoolers turned out for the May 8, hearing while speakers from the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS), the South Carolina Home Educators Association (SCHEA), HSLDA, and other organizations testified against the bill.

Although sponsors of H.B. 3364 asserted that it was only intended to eliminate the fraud found among some correspondence programs, the language of the bill was ambiguous and subject to various interpretations. Even if the bill only applied to correspondence programs, many home schooling families in South Carolina are enrolled in academically sound correspondence programs that would not have met the requirements in the legislation.

According to H.B. 3364, a high school graduate seeking state employment would need a diploma or its equivalent from either

  1. A correspondence program approved by the state board or department of education in the state where the school is located,

  2. A school accredited by certain accrediting associations named in the bill, or

  3. A school approved by a local school board in South Carolina. These requirements would have applied "if any state licensing, appointment, election, admission, employment, or other procedure or process requires the applicant, candidate, official or individual to possess a high school diploma or its equivalent...."

This means home schoolers would have faced major problems. Unless their high school diploma met one of the three requirements described above, they could not be admitted to a state college or other state school requiring a high school diploma, could not be hired to work for a state agency, and could not receive any state license requiring a high school diploma. Since the broad language of H.B. 3364 mandated that these requirements be applied to any "other procedure or process," the potential for discrimination against home school graduates by the state was virtually unlimited.

SCAIHS, SCHEA, and HSLDA all sent out e-mail alerts to their members urging them to attend the hearing. We want to thank all the home schooling leaders and families in South Carolina who contacted legislators and attended the hearing to oppose H.B. 3364.

 Other Resources

Click here to read Attorney Dee Black's testimony before the South Carolina legislature

Click here for a local newspaper's report on the hearing

More information about South Carolina House Bill 3364