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Wisconsin

April 26, 2016

“Sorry, the State Trashed Your Records. Get a GED.”

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Isaac, a 2009 Wisconsin homeschool graduate, has been told that he must take the GED in order to be considered for a state-approved apprenticeship program.

DAN BEASLEY
Contact attorney for Wisconsin

Isaac wanted to learn a construction trade while supporting his young family. Working as an apprentice seemed like the perfect fit because it would enable him to learn from professionals on the job while earning a good wage. Many apprenticeship programs also include technical classroom instruction to supplement a hands-on learning experience.

Denied on a Technicality

State standards for apprenticeship programs acknowledge homeschooling as a legal alternative to public education, but they refuse to recognize a homeschool diploma as proof of high school completion.

Instead, homeschool graduates must cut through additional red tape if they wish to work as apprentices. Local advisory committees are allowed to request specific homeschool enrollment forms from graduates for every year of high school to verify that their parents complied with Wisconsin’s homeschool notification requirements.

Unfortunately for Isaac, who graduated seven years ago, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction had already discarded all but one of his homeschool enrollment forms because they only retain these records for seven years.

Instead of accepting Isaac’s high school diploma and transcript, which show that he completed a high school education, the local advisory committee, has decided that Isaac must take the GED in order to be considered eligible.

However, Isaac feels the GED carries a stigma of being a high school dropout. Because apprenticeship positions are often very competitive, Isaac would prefer to be recognized for what he is, a high school graduate.

An Appeal to Common Sense

Last week, HSLDA petitioned the Department of Workforce Development, requesting a ruling that Isaac is eligible to apply for an apprenticeship program.

Isaac knows that a favorable ruling does not guarantee employment through an apprenticeship program. It simply allows him to apply for work as an apprentice. We are asking the state to accept Isaac’s senior year homeschool enrollment form along with his diploma, transcript, and an affidavit from his parents affirming that that they filed enrollment forms every year Isaac was in high school. This should be sufficient documentation to verify that Isaac completed high school in a legal homeschool program.

The department will either issue a ruling on our petition or set the matter for a hearing.

Fighting Discrimination

This case is concerning because a high school graduate is being told he is ineligible to work as an apprentice since he can’t produce forms from 8–10 years ago that the state threw away. It has nothing to do with his ability or qualification to work as an apprentice.

HSLDA continues to fight vigorously for homeschool graduates like Isaac who face unreasonable discrimination based on their homeschool education.