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Home Schoolers Snubbed by Idaho State Scholarships Part III

January 28th, 2007 by Halli

Parts I and II detailed the attempts of an outstanding Idaho home-schooled high school senior to apply for several scholarships. There is a break-through in this story which is very encouraging.

Many legislators have responded to this problem, including Senate Pro Tem Bob Geddes of Soda Springs, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, Rep. Dean Mortimer of Idaho Falls, Rep. Mack Shirley of Rexburg, and Rep. Janice McGeachin of Idaho Falls.

Then Dwight Johnson, executive director of the State Board of Education stated in an email to the concerned mother,

“You raise a very legitimate concern. Unfortunately, as currently drafted in Idaho Code, home-schooled children are not eligible for the merit-based Robert R. Lee Scholarship Promise A Category. In addition, based on current guidelines of the governing committee of the Governor’s Challenge Scholarships, home-schooled children are not eligible for that scholarship. As explained in the attached documents, I believe the law and the guidelines may have been written this way because of the practical difficulties in making merit-based comparisons between secondary school students and home-schooled students.”

Mr. Johnson went on to explain that home schooled students are eligible for 3 other “student aid” scholarships. Of course, this message brought considerable disappointment.

However, it is Governor Butch Otter who has promised to get something done. In an email message from the Governor’s Constituent Services, we read:

“Thank you for contacting the Governor’s office in relation to the Governor’s Challenge Scholarship and the Promise Category A Scholarship. Governor Otter is planning to change the regulations for the Governor’s Challenge Scholarship and will introduce legislation to allow home schooled students to apply for the Promise Category A Scholarship. Thank you for bringing this to his attention and helping him make these important changes.”

If the promised changes are made, it is still unclear whether this student will be able to apply for these scholarships, or only home schooled students of the future, as the January 15th application deadline passed while emails were still flying.

This student’s mother will be traveling to Boise with the Idaho Coalition of Home Educators Wednesday, January 31, and will be meeting with legislators and representatives from the governor’s office as well as the Department of Education.

Incidentally, since Part II was written, the student has completed her GED test, with the results stating that her performance places her in the top 1% of all high school graduates. Remember that she also has an ACT score, and has taken the ISATS. No way to make “merit-based comparisons between secondary school students and home-schooled students”? Idaho law must be changed!

Posted in Education, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

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