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Friday, July 24, 2009

Whatever Happened to Educational Integrity?

When I was in school, the grades we got on our report cards were the grades we earned, plain and simple. The classes we took were the classes we belonged in based on performance and academic ability. If we weren't academically up to par with our classmates we were held back, regardless of what that may do to our social status. A high school diploma meant we passed our courses and in most cases were prepared for college or the workforce.

These things don't necessarily ring true today, not only in public school which I have wrote about on here several times, but sadly and embarrassingly, in home schools as well.

We have all heard the stories of students in public school being passed on through the grades and in many cases graduating not knowing how to read or write very well. I recently have personally experienced some of this first hand. I've played Scrabble with high school graduates who otherwise seem and speak rather intelligently, yet can't come up with the vocabulary to form a three or four letter word, but alone spell it correctly! This coming from one of the finest schools in our county! I have heard students who are taking upper level math courses comment on how they don't know the math, but keep getting passed on anyway.

But unfortunately, this doesn't happen only in public schools. Our recent experience of trying to get our son into the military as a home school graduate and other recent experiences have taught me a thing or two. The person we've been dealing with in the Navy's education department shared how many students are kicked out of public school or drop out, then decide they want to join the service and "say" they are/were home schooled, when in fact they weren't. They try to use homeschooling as a way to gain entrance they'd otherwise be denied. Worse yet their parents and sometimes recruiters aid them in this deception, which in the long run damages "true" homeschoolers reputation and chances of enlistment.

But it doesn't stop with the "phony" homeschoolers. I wish it did. I have recently come across homeschoolers who have graduated with "college bound" diplomas who couldn't pass the basic entrance test for regular classes at community college.

This one upsets me more than any other. See, my son didn't earn a college bound diploma. He has a "general" diploma. Sure, as a private homeschooler who takes complete control of my child's education and documents I could have given him any diploma I desired. I could have put anything I wanted on his transcript, I could have awarded him any grade point average I desired, graded on any curve I could imagine, etc... but I DIDN'T.

My sons grades and scores are what he earned based on his knowledge of the subject matter and the quality of his work. He didn't have a 4.0 grade average, he didn't take "honors" or "college prep" classes nor did I claim he did. What good would that do? So, I give him a "college bound" diploma and he goes to take his tests to get in and it shows he needs remedial classes and the college admissions are going to think either homeschoolers are liars or completely ignorant. Unfortunately, this will effect these peoples perceptions of all homeschoolers.

Many of us pull our kids out of the public school system to avoid this type of stuff from going on. Most of us hope to not only do as well as public school but hopefully better. Let us do better than, not just lie and say we do! Many homeschoolers claim to homeschool for religious reasons, what example are we projecting of our religion when we lie?

This sort of falsehood doesn't only hurt your own child when the truth is known, but my child and every other homeschooler. Please fellow homeschoolers, lets not only do better than the public schools academically, but morally and ethically as well.

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