State Removes Error-riddled Homeschool Webpage at Request of HSLDA, FHE
by Scott Woodruff • April 17, 2018
State education officials have agreed to delete erroneous online information that have often hampered homeschool graduates’ attempt to find a job.
For quite some time, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has maintained webpages containing incorrect information about Missouri homeschooling.
“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.
Q. What does it mean that home schooling is not accredited?
A. Since home schooling is not regulated, it is considered an unaccredited form of education.
If a parent decides to home school, he or she must offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours shall occur in the home location.”
The first Q&A misses the point that parents have the freedom to issue diplomas, and also actually fails to answer the question proposed. The second Q&A is both wrong (homeschooling is regulated) and misleading (some families use accredited programs, but most do not). The third statement invents a legal requirement that doesn’t exist: 400 core hours of instruction must be received at the “regular home school location,” but that need not be in the student’s home.
The webpages also neglected to mention several important Missouri laws that protect homeschool graduates from employment discrimination.
After HSLDA helped a homeschool graduate whose job opportunity was jeopardized by an employer who dismissed their high school diploma after consulting DESE’s erroneous web pages, HSLDA teamed with Families for Home Education to work with DESE to repair the problems. Representatives of the department were professional, courteous and open-minded. After several months of analyzing the issue and exchanging ideas between the organizations, DESE decided to completely remove the web pages that contained the errors.