UPDATE APRIL 17, 2017: HB2389 passed in the House by a vote of 41-17 and is on to the Governor’s desk for signing. If signed by Governor Doug Ducey, HB2389 will go into effect 90 days after the close of this legislative session. Many thanks to the bill’s sponsor Representative Rusty Bowers, and also to the Center for Arizona Policy for lending watchful eyes. We would also like to thank AFHE Legislative Liaison Tom Lewis for his tireless work shepherding this bill through.
Support HB2389 – Homeschool Graduation Credentials
Recently, AFHE shared information about an administrative win that would give homeschool students equal access to jobs through Arizona state agencies using their homeschool graduation credentials (parent-issued diploma and high school transcript) without being required to take the GED.
Read the blog post
In 2016, AFHE successfully negotiated agreements with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) and with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to accept homeschool diplomas and transcripts as valid graduation credentials.
Prior to the agreement with AZPOST, homeschooled graduates were denied access to some 163 Arizona agencies providing jobs as peace and correctional officers.
And, prior to the agreement with ADHS, homeschool graduates were being denied employment, were demoted, or losing their jobs regulated by state agencies.
This legislative session, AFHE is running a bill that would codify this administrative victory and establish a statutory solution so that the graduation credentials of homeschooled students won’t have to be battled over repeatedly.
1-701. governmental entities; diplomas; transcripts; recognition
This state, any political subdivision or agency of this state and any other governmental entity shall recognize and treat all diplomas and transcripts associated with schooling options as defined in section 15-802 in the same manner.
CALL TO ACTION
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
by Monday, February 20
Let them know you support HB2389
This is not a “school choice” bill. It is a bipartisan bill that requires no state education funds to solidify an already agreed upon agency solution.
It corrects an injustice that has cost homeschool graduates employment.
Homeschooling is a statutorily recognized form of education along with public, private, and charter schools, and ESAs.
HB2389 merely places into statute that homeschool diplomas and transcripts must be treated the same as diplomas and transcripts from other recognized education options.
HOW TO REACH YOUR REPRESENTATIVES
TEXT YOUR ZIP CODE TO 520-200-2223
to find out who your legislators are
Email your representatives and ask them to support HB2389. Follow up with a phone call.
Make sure to tell them you are a constituent in their district and you want them to support HB2389.
Registering your support is important whether your representative is a democrat or a republican.
FEBRUARY 13TH VOTE
HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
Monday afternoon, February 13, 2017, House Bill 2389 passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 9 to 2. AFHE’s Legislative Liaison, Tom Lewis, testified in support of the bill. Two homeschool graduates shared from personal experience how they have been disadvantaged in the workplace because homeschool diplomas are not being recognized the same as other diplomas.
We are grateful for our legislative sponsor, Representative Rusty Bowers, as well as the Chairman of the Education Committee, Representative Paul Boyer!
Now the bill moves to the next step, the House Committee of the Whole, where the entire chamber will consider voting on whether it should be amended and moved forward.
WHY SUPPORT THIS BILL?
- Parents and students who have followed the state’s compulsory attendance laws should not be penalized by state regulatory agencies.
- The bill requirements are already recognized by Arizona state agencies.
- The Social Security Administration, the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Defense, and various congressionally enacted laws acknowledge homeschool graduation credentials.
- According to the last five years of Arizona Board of Regents Student Financial Aid Reports for merit scholarships, Arizona college-bound homeschool students typically outperformed all other student categories.
- A new 2017 analysis of test data from Arizona homeschool students shows they scored at the 79th-86th percentile in reading, language, math, and overall core scores.
- We are not asking for state money. To the contrary, homeschoolers save the taxpayers of Arizona about a quarter of a billion dollars per year. What we do ask for is a square deal, a level playing field for all high school graduates.
- This is not a “school choice” bill. It does not take money from the state’s General Fund.
- This is a bipartisan issue. It had bipartisan support in the House Education Committee.
- This bill corrects an inequity that is happening too often to homeschool graduates–the refusal of some state employers to recognize their diplomas and transcripts.
- Several state agencies have recognized this inequity and have taken action to ensure that homeschool diplomas and transcripts are recognized within their specific purview.
WHY NOT JUST TAKE THE GED?
- There is a stigma of being associated with high school dropouts.
- Homeschooled students are not dropouts!
- Homeschooling families following Arizona laws should not be penalized by the state.
ARE HOMESCHOOL DIPLOMAS IDENTICAL TO PUBLIC SCHOOL DIPLOMAS?
- No, they are not identical. Public schools have many additional requirements such as 180 days of attendance and standardized testing.
- Homeschool diplomas accompanied by a transcript are comparable and government regulatory agencies should treat homeschooled graduates fairly.
ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THIS BILL FROM AGENCIES INVOLVED?
There are no concerns from the League of Cities and Towns and so far, no concerns from the Governor’s office.