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June 24, 2016

Homeschooling Congressman
Levels Path to Federal Jobs

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations

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As homeschooling has grown in popularity, homeschool graduates are heading to nearly every career field and higher education opportunity. And HSLDA is right there alongside them, making sure that they don’t face discrimination because of their homeschool diplomas.

HSLDA recently helped a homeschool graduate who applied for an internship in the Naval Sea Systems Command. He had seen the job listing on the Office of Personnel and Management’s (OPM) online job listing at USA Jobs.

But there was one problem: OPM’s job announcement required applicants to have graduated from a “high school whose curriculum has been approved by a State or local governing body, or a home-school curriculum that has been approved by such a body or a Stateā€¦”

The third-party contractor hired by OPM to vet candidates for this position asked the homeschool graduate to prove that he fulfilled this requirement. Since there is not a single state in the nation where homeschoolers must use government-approved curriculum (and homeschoolers would fight such a requirement!), the graduate called HSLDA.

HSLDA Staff Attorney TJ Schmidt immediately wrote a letter to the third-party contractor explaining that homeschoolers are only required to follow their state’s homeschool law. He further explained that the governing body approval requirement was invalid and impossible for homeschoolers to fulfill.

Faced with a highly qualified homeschool graduate, the third-party contractor accepted HSLDA’s letter as proof that the young man had met the educational qualifications. We’re pleased to report that the homeschool graduate was admitted into the Naval Sea Systems Command as their newest intern.

But we were still concerned about this language in OPM’s job announcement. What if this was just the start of OPM putting burdens on homeschool graduates? HSLDA’s Federal Relations team immediately reached out to U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.), a homeschool dad himself. Rep. Meadows sits on the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and chairs the Subcommittee on Government Operations, which has oversight over OPM.

Rep. Meadows wasted no time. He sent a letter to OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert and also personally called her. (In an interesting twist, HSLDA’s Federal Relations team of homeschool graduates worked with one of Meadows’ staffers who is a homeschool graduate himself, a graduate of Patrick Henry College, and a student at Georgetown Law.)

Although we have not yet received an official response from OPM, we believe that the situation has been fully resolved, and that OPM will not use this language again. Rep. Meadows and HSLDA are closely monitoring future job announcements from OPM.

We encourage you to read Meadows’ letter to OPM here. And if you see any other concerning language in OPM job announcements for federal employment, please notify HSLDA. Together, we can stop discrimination against homeschool graduates.