Sunday, July 19, 2015
Wisconsin ends discrimination against homeschool diplomas
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — A homeschool diploma was good enough to get someone into college but until this week it wasn’t enough to get that same person a job escorting students to the bathroom at voucher schools in Wisconsin.
That’s because state law required teacher’s aides at those schools to have a high school diploma, GED or “a declaration of equivalency of high school graduation” and according to the Department of Public Instruction’s interpretation of the law, homeschool diplomas didn’t qualify.
A little noticed provision in the biennial state budget signed into law Sunday changed this, adding “a high school diploma by the administrator of a home-based private educational program” to the list of qualifications for the job.
DPI Superintendent Tony Evers had opposed the change and asked Gov. Scott Walker to veto it.
“Relaxing the requirements for a teacher’s aide to this extent is not in the best interests of the children,” Evers said in a letter to the governor.
“It’s disappointing that Superintendent Evers is apparently unaware of the studies that show home-school students regularly outperform public high school students academically,” said Scott Woodruff, senior counsel at the Home School Legal Defense Association.
HSLDA pushed lawmakers to make the change after being contacted last year by a former teacher’s aide at a Milwaukee voucher school.
The aide had been fired following a DPI review of the school staff’s qualifications.
“The aide very much wanted to keep working at the school and the school administrator told us they wanted her to keep working, but DPI informed them if they continued to employ her the school would be barred from participating in the voucher program,” Woodruff said.