An Indiana-based energy distribution group that operates in Ohio has informed the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) that the company will not hire homeschool graduates, a situation that may not only reflect discrimination, but also the possibility that, with a nationalized set of standards such as Common Core, homeschoolers could be shown the door when they apply for jobs in the future.
Adele O’Connor, an attorney from NiSource, Inc. responded to HSLDA staff attorney Michael Donnelly, who wrote numerous letters to the company in an attempt to resolve a dispute over a particular job applicant whose job offer had been rescinded because he was homeschooled.
Donnelly said O’Connor finally informed him that NiSource “disagrees with the conclusions in your letter as to the legal requirements regarding a diploma. These requirements are set forth in Chapter 3313 of the Ohio Revised Code.”
According to Donnelly, however, the section of the code reference by O’Connor applies to public and chartered private schools, not homeschools.
“NiSource is wrongly using Ohio law as an excuse to defend its discriminatory hiring policy,” states Donnelly. “There is simply no legal impediment to NiSource hiring a homeschool graduate – especially the one in question here.”
“Ohio law clearly recognizes homeschooling as a legal and valid educational option,” he continued. “To rescind an offer of employment to an otherwise qualified and experienced applicant who received a legally recognized education is unreasonable and discriminatory.”
Donnelly said that the job applicant had a homeschool diploma, in compliance with Ohio law, and years of relevant job experience, as well as several key industry certifications. In addition, during his last two years of high school, the applicant completed seven courses at a recognized state college and made the dean’s list.
“HSLDA has been working with homeschool advocates in Ohio to seek legislative action to prevent this kind of discrimination,” said Donnelly, but then also forewarned that it is this type of situation that could become more pervasive for homeschoolers if the Common Core standards are allowed permanent status in the country:
This situation reflects the precise concern that motivates HSLDA’s opposition to the Common Core and its “college- and career-ready” standards – that qualified homeschool graduates who don’t have a state-issued credential will be discriminated against in employment decisions.
The Common Core has been adopted in Ohio and is moving forward in the face of fierce opposition from grassroots activists–parents and educators who reject a nationalized education system that includes national standards and associated nationalized assessments and a national student data collection scheme. HSLDA opposes Common Core because it creates a system based on nationalized standards, assessment and data collection that could negatively affect homeschool graduates and job seekers.
“Research indicates that homeschooled students are well prepared academically and socially for careers and college,” said Donnelly, “But even if this is true, hiring decisions should be made based on an individual’s qualifications, not a policy that discriminates against an entire class of people based on how they were educated.”
Donnelly added that while HSLDA affirms the right of private companies to make their own hiring policies, NiSource’s practice is discriminatory and “reflects a narrow-minded and statist view of education that is inconsistent with the values of a free society.”