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July 1, 2015

Kasich Signs Diploma Fairness Bill for Homeschoolers

Mike Donnelly Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Ohio. He and his wife homeschool.

On Tuesday, June 30, Governor John Kasich signed HB 64 which contains language that provides that homeschooled graduates would be treated the same as anyone else for purposes of employment or admission to higher education opportunities. This new law provides greater protection for individuals who are discriminated against because they were homeschooled.

The bill adds a section to the Ohio code providing two options for home educating parents to issue diplomas to their students who complete their final year of high school in a home school program that complies with Ohio Law.

Parent-issued diplomas can either be:

  • presented to the superintendent of the local public school district who would then sign the diploma, along with the parent, certifying the student was excused in accordance with the law;
  • or signed by the parents only, who would then have to include with the diploma the letter of excuse from the final year of instruction in compliance with the law.

More Protection

Ohio joins about a half dozen other states that provide in their respective laws for diplomas issued to homeschool graduates. Earlier this year, the West Virginia Legislature passed a similar law. To view the language of the law creating a new section, O.R.C. Sec. 3313.6110, click here. The language is on pages 1039–1040.

HSLDA’s attorney for Ohio members, Michael Donnelly, applauded the legislation, which is effective immediately.

“We hope that this law will level the playing field for homeschool graduates who appear to face more discrimination in areas of employment and higher education,” said Donnelly. “We are thankful that the legislature and governor recognize the efforts of thousands of hard-working parents and their students. A homeschool graduate should not need a GED, nor should he be treated differently in employment or higher education because of being homeschooled. This bill will put a stop to discrimination against homeschool diplomas in Ohio.”

He added: “It was a privilege to work with CHEO’s legislative liaison Melanie Elsey on this project. We have been working on this project for nearly six years, and it is exciting to see this recognition of the work of homeschooling parents in Ohio.”

Broad Support

Elsey also welcomed the law change.

“This provision in state law will mean that home educated graduates and non-chartered private school graduates will have access to college educations, professional certifications after earning college degrees, and employment without discrimination for their choice of high school education,” she said.

“We are so grateful to House Speaker Pro Tempore Ron Amstutz and Senate President Keith Faber, as well as Representatives Hood, Vitale, Koehler, Zeltwanger and Senator Jordan for their support,” continued Elsey. “We also appreciate the support of Governor Kasich. The pattern of discrimination these students have been experiencing will now be eliminated.”

We appreciate the support of our Ohio members. It is only with the support of our members that HSLDA is able to defend the freedom of home education in Ohio. If you’re not a member of HSLDA or CHEO, join today to support our work as we advance homeschooling freedom in Ohio and around the world.