Officials of the state of Arizona demanded that two women working at day care centers must pass the GED test or quit their jobs because they only had homeschool diplomas on record and did not have “certified” diplomas provided by conventional public and private schools – as they are both homeschool graduates.
When the Child Care Licensing Division of the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) audited two licensed day care programs, it notified the two formerly homeschooled women that because they had homeschool diplomas – instead of diplomas handed out by public or private high schools – they had to take the GED test or find other employment.
Homeschool grads not accepted
After the notification by ADHS, one of the women was demoted from her position, while the other eventually left her day care job.
As a result of their unfair treatment at the hands of the state and their conforming employers, both women sought legal advice from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
The Christian legal group subsequently contacted the ADHS and made it clear that homeschool graduates should not be discriminated against -- because they already meet the requirements for child care positions and related jobs.
“Since Arizona does not require homeschools to be accredited, a diploma does not need to be from an accredited school to serve as evidence of the completion of high school,” HSLDA reported. “There was no need for these women to take the GED in order to meet the qualifications for their positions.”
Straightening things out
HSLDA Litigation Attorney Darren Jones explained that his nonprofit homeschool advocacy organization notified the state’s Child Care Licensing Division that it was not following government protocol when it demanded that the two women needed to provide anything above and beyond their homeschool diplomas.
“We also pointed out to officials that many federal agencies recognize the legitimacy of homeschool credentials, and we recommended that ADHS follow their example,” Jones recounted.
Despite HSLDA’s efforts to clear the matter up by appealing to the law – as well as to state and federal protocol – the state agency would not acknowledge its mistake or indicate that it had received the information proving that it had made unwarranted demands on the two women. As a result, the Purcellville, Virginia-based group appealed to some local help to get the ball rolling.
“After sending two letters about this issue and still not receiving a response, we asked Tom Lewis, a legislative liaison for Arizona Families for Home Education (ADFE), to help us locally,” Jones informed.
Soon thereafter, a meeting was arranged and took place between ADFE and a homeschool-friendly Arizona state senator. During the meeting, Lewis entered into a discussion that went over numerous options that could lead to a permanent solution to the problem.
Even though progress was made, technicalities in the law and the protracted legal process have kept a quick remedy of the problem from taking place.
“Since changes to statutes and codes require a long process, HSLDA is still seeking an agreement that allows homeschool graduates to continue working at these child care facilities in the meantime,” Jones explained.
As the process to set the record straight moves forward, the homeschool attorney is confident that the issue will be resolved soon so that former homeschoolers with diplomas in the Grand Canyon State will be able to hold jobs just as graduates with conventional diplomas currently do.
“HSLDA and AFHE continue to work to adopt a policy that will accept homeschool graduates, and with key legislators to consider legal reforms,” Jones assured.