December 19, 2005

Homeschool Graduate Told to Get a GED or be Fired

In November, Richard, a young homeschool graduate who also completed four years of college, obtained a job at the same company as his father. The company is located in the suburbs of Chicago, Ill. Everything went well at work until a few months into his employment. He was told by a member of the management that he "must get a GED or be fired."

The homeschool family was very upset since taking the GED carries the stigma of being a high school dropout and their son had already completed four years of college. They contacted HSLDA for help. HSLDA immediately reviewed the case and contacted the employer.

After some delay, HSLDA Senior Counsel Chris Klicka was able to speak with a member of management. He explained that a GED is objectionable because it carries the stigma of being a dropout. Richard Belmont had fully completed high school at home and received his homeschool high school diploma. Furthermore, he had completed four years of college and had graduated. Klicka explained that the U.S. Congress previously required homeschool graduates to obtain a GED in order to receive federal financial assistance, but that an amendment to the Higher Education Act removed this requirement. Ever since, homeschoolers have been able to obtain federal financial aid for college by merely stating that they have a homeschool high school diploma.

Klicka also explained that the military used to require homeschool graduates to obtain a GED in order to enlist in one of the four branches of the armed services. Again, an amendment was made to federal legislation which removed the GED requirement for homeschool graduates. Now they only have to produce a homeschool diploma and transcript. Also, many colleges required GEDs but the overwhelming majority have abandoned this requirement because it as an unnecessary test. Colleges now rely on ACT or SAT college entrance exams because they are a more meaningful indicator of college readiness.

The management of this business was very eager to solve the problem and agreed to drop any further demands for a GED. They admitted that it was wrong to require a GED after the young man was already employed and doing his job well.

After a short conversation, the problem was solved. Richard Belmont, would not be fired, nor would he have to obtain a GED. We are thankful that this employer saw the situation clearly.