Q. I’m a second generation homeschool parent. My homeschool diploma was rejected as evidence of a high school diploma on my Notice of Intent. What should I do?
A. I am sorry for the complications you have encountered regarding your high school diploma. According to the Code of Virginia Section 22.1-254.1:
“Any parent . . . may elect to provide home instruction in lieu of school attendance if he(i) holds a high school diploma.”
The law does not state that the high school diploma needs to come from a public or private school or that it has to be a diploma accredited by the Virginia Department of Education. You have complied with the law if you have filed your notice of intent, provided a diploma for option 1, and provided a “description of curriculum” (or a list of the subjects) you intend to teach. A diploma is a piece of paper that verifies that a student has completed a course of study. In the case of homeschooling, this is a course of study determined by the parent/administrator.
Homeschooling is a legal and valid education option according to the Virginia statute listed above and has equal standing with public and private education. Parent-issued diplomas are legal and valid documents. At the federal level, the Higher Education Act of 1998 says that a homeschool diploma does not need to be issued by the state or an accredited school. There are many private schools that are not accredited, but issue valid diplomas. Homeschool diplomas are also recognized for federal financial aid eligibility.
Often, by simply reviewing the law with the support of the facts mentioned above, you can resolve the problem. If you are dissatisfied with the superintendent’s response, you have the right to make an appeal.
Making an Appeal
In the Law FAQ on the HEAV website, under “What can I do if I disagree with a decision made by the superintendent?,” it states:
“If you are unable to resolve the division superintendent’s request or decision, you may make an appeal to an independent hearing officer within thirty days. You must inform your superintendent that you request an appeal. An independent hearing officer will be chosen to hear both sides of the disagreement according to §22.1-254.1(E).”
We expect you will not need to make this appeal, but it is an option. Also, if you’d like, HEAV would be happy to contact the school authority to discuss the validity of homeschool diplomas.