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September 6, 2017

Paul Mitchell Drops Requirement for Accredited Homeschool Program


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As part of the application to enter the Paul Mitchell cosmetology school in St. Louis, Missouri, a homeschool graduate submitted her parent-issued diploma to show that she had finished high school. A representative said, in effect, that Missouri required the school to reject the diploma:

There are some state regulations with the state of Missouri regarding students that have been home schooled. The state requires the necessary high school credits to come from a nationally recognized and accredited program. Unfortunately, they will not recognize any credits that come from independent home schooling, regardless of whether or not there is a transcript. In the event the home schooling source is not accredited, there are a couple of options. First, the student has the option to complete the GED or HISET. The second option is to send the transcripts into the Missouri Department of Education to have them reviewed. In the event that office chooses to certify the transcripts and recognize them as having completed the necessary requirements, we could move forward from there.

This statement was conspicuous for the large number of errors it packed into such a tight space.

There are no Missouri homeschool regulations. The state imposes no requirements on parents who wish to graduate a student from a homeschool program. There is no state requirement that parents use a nationally recognized or accredited program. The state has no power to recognize homeschool credits. Missouri homeschool parents are not required to choose the GED or HISET in any event. The state has no power to certify or recognize homeschool transcripts.

Puzzled about where this eye-popping collection of misunderstandings might have arisen from, I asked the representative what her source was. She replied that her only source was the “Frequently Asked Question” section on of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website.

Q. If parents home school their child through high school, who issues the diploma?

A. The only accredited equivalent to a diploma is a high school equivalency certificate.

The representative was willing to reconsider. I explained that the FAQ on the state website was flagrantly wrong, and referred to state and federal statutes that place a Missouri homeschool education on exactly the same legal footing as any other lawful form of education.

The representative quickly realized that since the FAQ itself was wrong, so were the conclusions she had drawn from it.

Now with an accurate understanding of the status of homeschooling in Missouri, the representative accepted the graduate’s diploma. We appreciate her willingness to take a second look which gives this graduate the opportunity to make her dream for a career in the beauty industry come true.

Everyone makes mistakes—including lawyers. If you history buffs want a good laugh, read this true story (or the last six paragraphs of this document.)