|HSLDA News||September 9, 2003|
Breakthrough for Homeschoolers Enlisting in the Military
Good news for homeschoolers who want to enlist in the Navy, Marines, Army, or Airforce! As of an August 15th directive from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, homeschool graduates will continue to be eligible for Tier I status in all four branches of the military for another year.
For many years prior to 1998, homeschoolers who wished to enlist in the military were designated in the same category as high school drop-outs and were relegated to Tier II status. Many of the best military career options are closed to those who enlist under this status. The military simply did not recognize their homeschool diplomas as being valid.
Because only a few openings were available under Tier II status, almost all homeschool graduates were denied enlistment regardless of their high scores on the military aptitude test.
In order to end this discrimination, the Home School Legal Defense Association worked with Congress and the Department of Defense to pass an amendment to the Defense Reauthorization Act. This amendment created a five-year pilot program that automatically conferred Tier I status on homeschool graduates so they would receieve equal treatment with all high school graduates.
Over the last five years, many homeschoolers have successfully entered the military and have served well, including hundreds of homeschool graduates who served in the recent conflict in Iraq. A partial listing of homeschoolers serving in Iraq can be found at "Homeschooled Troops in Iraq."
Unfortunately, with the pilot program expiring September 30, 2003, many homeschool recruits have recently faced renewed difficulty in enlisting, as military recruiters assumed the program was ending.
Anticipating this need, Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel, Chris Klicka, worked behind the scenes with the White House and the Military Recruiting Command to ensure the continuance of Tier I status for homeschoolers in the military. This pressure convinced the Department of Defense to extend the pilot program for another year while the Center for Naval Analysis conducts a study of the success of homeschoolers in the military.
Thus, homeschoolers will continue to be eligible for Tier I status through September 30, 2004. This will keep the doors wide open for homeschoolers who seek to serve their country.
Meanwhile, HSLDA will continue to work with the Department of Defense and we expect homeschoolers to be given Tier I status permanently, either by the military or by Congress.
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