Do you remember when, in high school, you had to take the SAT exam? Or how, if you dropped out, to get into a decent college you needed to take a GED test?
Apparently, this is too much for those poor, poor, persecuted Christian homeschoolers, who are now claiming it’s unfair they have to prove they’ve obtained high school-level academic skills if they want to enter a trade school.
I can understand why trade and vocational schools would need a GED or high school equivalent in order for people to enter them, but the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) apparently can’t, and they want homeschoolers to get special rights to avoid these requirements.
“A homeschool graduate is accepted into a cosmetology or vocational school — but then, like a bolt from above, the admissions office reverses course,” said William Estrada, HSLDA director of federal relations. “Officials tell the applicant that the school cannot accept homeschoolers.”
The problem here? There are apparently a large number of homeschooled young adults who claim to have been turned away from trade schools because they haven’t passed a General Education Development exam — and it’s unfair to them because graduates of traditional high schools aren’t required to pass it.
And according to Estrada and the HSLDA, it’s all the fault of that Ebil Gubbamint:
Vocational schools are more likely to be audited for compliance with federal higher education laws. They’re worried that if they accept a homeschooler who doesn’t have the documentation of a public school graduate, it could cost the vocational school its accreditation.
Of course, Estrada admits that not all of their cases are successful, in part because most vocational schools are privately run and therefore, set their own admission standards — admission standards that, Estrada says, “discriminate against homeschoolers.”
“I will not let a homeschool graduate into my school unless he or she has a GED,” the president of a cosmetology school — his voice supposedly “shaking with rage” according to Estrada — allegedly told HSLDA attorneys. “My brother had a GED, and if it was good enough for him, it’s good enough for a homeschool graduate.”
If this sounds like a load of whining, it is. This isn’t “discrimination,” this is schools demanding proof that the students are learning something, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re absolutely justified in doing this.
In my experience, the most homeschooled students are isolated for ideological reasons. This isn’t all of them, but it’s far too many in my opinion.
I’ve had conversations with these students about things like science and history, and they come across like they’re living in an alternative reality. They’re armed with all sorts of questionable factoids that defend their counterfactual interpretation of reality, but most of them are incapable of handling direct challenges to their beliefs without throwing a fit and folding their arms in a huff. They shut down all meaningful conversation, because their epistemic certainty is more valuable than their education.
At the end of the day, I’m suspicious that this is just the HSLDA attempting to carve out another niche exception for homeschoolers. And given the HSLDA’s reputation for calling people who abuse children heroes, that their name isn’t absolute poison yet proves that my suspicion is justified.
Feature image via Anne Landman
Thamiel is a teacher and a learner; he’s a patron of the arts and sciences, and a supporter for universal human rights — as well as another quiet afternoon with the latest find at the local library.