I read the HSLDA web page, and one thing I noticed is that their interpretation of the memorandum doesn’t jibe with mine.Â (in the text below, mine are the numbered points, and HSLDA’s points are the bullets)
1.Â If the ‘barriers’ apply to every recruit, they aren’t discriminatory. Standards, by their very nature, ‘discriminate.’Â Isn’t this one of the items parentsÂ have mentioned as a reason for homeschooling their children, a lack of standards in some schools?
- HSLDA has been working with the military for several years to remove discriminatory barriers for homeschool graduates.
2.Â When the pilot program came to a close, why did doors need to be kept open if the subjects of the study were fully qualified?Â I would think that if the pilot program study had been a resounding success that the services would have had no problem in assigning homeschooling credentials to the Tier I category.
- Although the pilot program came to a close in the fall of 2004, HSLDA President Michael Smith and HSLDA Senior Counsel Chris Klicka met with the Assistant Secretary of Defense to keep the doors open for homeschoolers.
3.Â In the memorandum, the "no practical limits" expansionÂ was phrased,Â "they shall be afforded priority in enlistment programs such that no practical limit shall apply with regard to enlistment, provided the applicant is fully qualified for enlistment and is qualified in Armed Forces Qualification Test Categories I-IIIA."Â [emphasis added]
- In January 2005, the Department of Defense issued a letter stating that homeschoolers were considered "preferred enlistees" and that there were no "practical limits" to the numbers of homeschoolers who could obtain entrance into the Armed Services.
4.Â It would be nice to see DoD confirmation of the followingÂ statements, considering the language in published regulations.
- We recently announced that the Army has been pushing to open doors for homeschoolers. We have now verified that the other branches (Navy, Air Force, and Marines) are also offering the same benefits for homeschoolers as the Army; including cash bonuses, college funds, and availability of positions. The "preferred enlistment" status currently given to homeschool graduates enhances the Tier II category so that it is essentially equivalent to Tier I, which is given to high school graduates.
5.Â If standards apply across-the-board, then no one is being treated as a "second class citizen."Â Either a recruit is qualified, or a recruit is not qualified.
- This is good news for homeschoolers, since they will not be treated as second class citizens when they seek to gain entry in any of the four armed services.
6.Â I expect that the services will accept only qualified recruits, in line with public law as it now stands.Â I had to meet standards when I enlisted, and even my draftee-husband had to meetÂ standards.Â Homeschoolers cutting to the front of the line via legislation introduced by sympathetic legislators is what is unfair.
- We expect the next defense bill, which is to be passed this year in Congress, to codify this arrangement to ensure that homeschoolers will continue to maintain preferred enlistment status and not be discriminated against when they seek entry into the military.
And I still have to wonder why the big push to get homeschoolers into the military.Â And why is there a needÂ to "codify" such an arrangement?Â Each service already has guidelines in their enlistment regulationsÂ for homeschool enlistees, guidelines that are applied across the spectrum of recruits.Â What more is needed?Â What more is wanted?Â Special treatment?
Has anyone noticed a clamoring on any national homeschool list for enlistment?Â Have there been lines of homeschooled individuals picketing outside recruiting offices across the country?Â I just searched my savedÂ email using the terms "homeschool" and "enlist," andÂ in the two years that The Military HomeschoolerÂ has been online I’veÂ had no queries about military enlistment.
All the noise seems to be coming only from one national voice.Â It’s not about ‘discrimination’ because there is none:Â meeting standards is not discrimination.Â
What is the big deal?