Monday, December 19, 2005

Ditto Mississippi

VaHomeschoolers’ Position on Section 522 of H.R. 1815

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (VaHomeschoolers) opposes Section 522 of H.R. 1815, and desires that this section of the bill be eliminated.

Background:
H.R. 1815 (patron Congressman HUNTER of California) also known as the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, recently passed both chambers of Congress and is currently in conference committee. Section 522 of this omnibus bill calls for the creation of a special policy for the recruitment and enlistment of homeschooled students in the US Armed Forces. Section 522 would
• Require the Secretary of Defense to prescribe a policy on recruitment and enlistment of homeschoolers into the Armed Forces
• Ensure that the policy applies uniformly across the Armed Forces
• Grant homeschoolers special treatment for enlistment, with no practical limit with regard to enlistment eligibility
• Permit enlistment of homeschooled graduates without a secondary school diploma or GED to enlist in the Armed Forces
• Prescribe a single set of criteria, determined by the Secretary of Defense, to determine whether an individual is a graduate of homeschooling.

Reasons for Concern:

Section 522 is not necessary.

• Homeschoolers are already allowed to enlist in all branches of the Armed Forces, and have successfully served in the Armed Forces for many years.
• All the branches of the Armed Forces already have policies in place for the recruitment of homeschooled applicants.
• Current DOD policy as of January 2005 already gives homeschooled applicants preferential enlistment eligibility, and affirms that homeschooled graduates need not have a GED to enlist in the Armed Forces. (see http://www.thsc.org/pdf/DoDLetter.pdf)
• Proposing new federal laws which involve special privileges for homeschoolers could create bad publicity for homeschoolers and for the Armed Forces as a whole.

Section 522 would lead to greater regulation of homeschoolers at the state level.

• Virginia law has no definition of “graduate of home schooling” and does not grant high school diplomas to homeschooled students.
• Section 522 would require Virginia and other states to adopt a definition of “graduate of homeschooling” and create legal requirements for “homeschool graduation”.
• Virginia school districts are not required to compile or maintain data on homeschooled students except as needed to ensure compliance with certain state laws.
• Section 522 would require school districts in Virginia and elsewhere to create and maintain databases of personal and academic information on homeschooled students for Armed Forcesrecruitment and enlistment purposes.

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers (VaHomeschoolers) opposes Section 522 of H.R.1815, and desires that this section of the bill be eliminated.

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