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HB 1013 does not threaten the PHAA Diploma
HB 1013, a bill that passed the PA House Education Committee on June 4, specifies that parents and the senior year evaluators give the diplomas that are provided for in the PA Home Education Law.
When I read it, I realized that it left out the ten home education associations that are currently recognized by Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) policy to issue those diplomas. I concluded that it could end recognition of the organization I direct, Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency (PHAA). I was wrong!
Although HB 1013 threatens the right of PHAA to issue recognized diplomas, it does not threaten PHAA’s right to accredit home education diplomas. In the unlikely event that HB 1013 were to pass without change, the parent and evaluator could sign the parent-issued diploma and PHAA would add its recognized seal of accreditation.
I would like to publicly thank Suzanne Tallman, the homeschool liaison at the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for correcting me on this issue. After she read my June 12 posting on this board (Would HB 1013 affect Home Education Association Diplomas?), she wrote an e-mail to one of our board members, Laszlo Pasztor, explaining my mistake. Here’s the relevant part of her email. First she quoted what I had written:
Then she continued:
The wording of this regulation apparently goes back to the brief period of time when Pennsylvania Homeschoolers Accreditation Agency was the only home schooling organization whose diplomas were recognized. When it is juxtaposed with letters written by the PDE at that time, it is clear that PDE was recognizing PHAA as an “accreditation agency,” approved by them to accredit home education programs.
PHAA may be the only “accreditation agency” that was approved by the Department of Education. If you check out the PDE website, none of the other associations listed have the words “accreditation agency” in their names. You will also find that the PDE describes the ten recognized home education associations as “diploma-granting organizations,” not as “accreditation agencies.” Specifically:
We continue to favor the following amendment to Subsection D.1 (2) of HB 1013 which preserves the non-boldfaced language already in the bill, but adds recognition for the home education association diploma through our amendment shown in boldface:
Our amendment simply preserves and makes into law what is already PDE policy. We hope that homeschoolers can unite in giving homeschoolers the new option of a parent-issued diploma without taking away the old option of an association-issued diploma.
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