Today IAHE testified before the State Board of Education regarding the proposed diplomas. We wanted our concerns and the assurances that we had received to be a part of the public record.
IAHE met with Commissioner Lubbers and Associate Commissioner Bearce on Tuesday, October 27. The Commissioner and Associate Commissioner for Higher Education assured us that the change in the high school diplomas was not intended to affect or target home educators. We accept and take them at their word. We are encouraged by their assurances because home educators simply want to continue to do what is working for our students — to help prepare our children to pursue their academic and career goals upon the completion of high school.
Additionally, in our meeting we were assured that homeschoolers would not be required to follow state-mandated curriculum nor specific state-directed pathways in order to prepare students who are college-or career-bound. This greatly alleviates our concerns and assures us that home education would continue to have the flexibility to meet the individual needs and interests of our students.
The three areas we expressed concern and will continue to monitor are:
1.) Advanced Coursework (AP courses and AP exams) : IAHE was assured that homeschoolers could take the AP exam without being mandated to use the AP curriculum.
2.) Six credits of college and career readiness sequence: We suggested a better way to describe this might be a college and career readiness “focus”.
3.) Graduation capstone or project-or work-based learning experience: IAHE was assured that the State would not be mandating details regarding these learning experiences, and that they were meant to allow flexibility.
IAHE opposes any changes that would force home educators into a statewide or national curriculum and is why we have opposed and will continue to oppose Common Core. We also oppose any Pathway or specific curriculum requirements that would make completion of these impossible for a home educator. We believe the best educational choices for each child should rest firmly with parents and not the state. Our initial concern related to the link for the College and Career Pathway Plan for Engineering that was sent to us from the Indiana Department of Education. We had read about the STEM Credential from College Board that was obtained by using Project Lead The Way curriculum followed by AP curriculum. We were assured that this pathway related to a student receiving technical education and not a typical academic college-prep education. Home educators will continue in the same manner of education that they have traditionally provided. This presentation for the State Board of Education may be helpful for homeschoolers to see various combinations of courses to allow flexibility.
Home schools have some similarities to rural schools, and we have similar challenges. We were pleased to see the Commission for Higher Education was sympathetic to our concerns.
Because we have been assured that home educators will continue to remain free of government involvement in educational choices, we no longer oppose the new diploma proposals. However, we will continue to monitor the process to assure that homeschoolers will have a wide latitude in providing an education for our children which is non-standardized, yet high-quality and prepares our children for the college and career path that best meets the needs of individual homeschooled high school students.
If homeschoolers have additional concerns about the diplomas, please contact IAHE. The State Board of Education will vote on the diplomas in November. If IAHE has any additional concerns, we will keep the homeschoolers of the state of Indiana informed.
Contributors: Government Affairs Team members, Camille Cantwell & Debi Ketron.