August 30, 2012

Pentagon Changes Homeschool Enlistment
but HSLDA Isn’t Ready to Salute

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations


Will Estrada has been leading our efforts to defend homeschooling on Capitol Hill since 2006. As the oldest of eight kids, and a homeschool graduate who married a homeschool graduate, he has a passion for protecting homeschool freedom. Read more >>

Congress recently passed a new law requiring the United States military to accept homeschool graduates on an equal basis with all other high school graduates. HSLDA worked hard to secure passage of this legislation and monitor the Pentagon’s implementation of the new law.

On June 5, 2012, the Pentagon released its new policy regarding the enlistment of homeschool graduates. While this policy is a huge improvement over the military’s previous enlistment guidelines, Home School Legal Defense Association agrees with certain Congress members that the Pentagon failed to follow their clear legislative intent.

Summary of the Pentagon’s New Homeschool Enlistment Policy

Since 2007 homeschool graduates had been recruited into the military as Tier I only because of an internal Department of Defense policy. Potential recruits are categorized into Tier 1, 2, or 3, with Tier 1 representing those who are most likely to serve their full term.

Prior to the release of the Pentagon’s policy implementing the new law, the military guidelines allowing homeschool graduates to enlist as Tier 1 was not universally applied. Recruiters would ask for a wide variety of “proof” that a graduate had indeed homeschooled, most of the time going above and beyond what was required by state law. The new law was supposed to eliminate discrimination and implement across-the-board rules for recruiting homeschool graduates. While the Pentagon’s new policy is a clear step forward, there is still one major problem.

Changes for Homeschooled Enlistees Under the Pentagon’s New Policy

  • Under the old policy, homeschool graduates were presumed to be in Tier II unless proven otherwise. Under the new policy, homeschool graduates are presumed to be in Tier I, and they remain in Tier I as long as they score at least a 50 on the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test).
  • Under the old policy, homeschool graduates had to prove that they were homeschooling in compliance with their respective state laws. Under the new policy, homeschool graduates are not required to provide proof of compliance with their state law.
  • Under the old policy, recruiters often asked homeschool graduates to describe the curriculum, hours of instruction, textbooks, or even a typical day of homeschool instruction. Under the new policy homeschool graduates are no longer required to provide detailed information of their homeschool program for recruitment.

You can read the new policy here.

A Mixed Bag

While HSLDA believes that the new policy will eliminate many burdensome requirements for homeschool enlistees, the policy still fails to follow Congress’ clear legislative intent for homeschool enlistees who score less than 50 on the AFQT. Homeschoolers who score less than 50 are treated differently than public school graduates who score less than 50.

Members of Congress sent a letter to the Pentagon urging the policy to be changed to comply with legislators’ clear intent. HSLDA supports this letter and will continue to work with Congress and the Pentagon to make sure that no homeschoolers face discrimination when they choose to serve their nation by enlisting in the Armed Forces.

If your homeschool graduate faces discrimination by a military recruiter simply because he or she is a homeschool graduate, please contact us at 540-338-5600. We will keep you updated as we continue to work on this issue.

 Other Resources

Some of the documents linked to above require Adobe Acrobat Reader.