Looking Forward with Great Hopes
Many look forward to the final years of home schooling with mixed emotions, including anticipation and excitement. One hopes to see a combination of the parents’ and several home school co-op teachers’ teaching pay off, as the student excels as a writer, is more than proficient in math, and on top of all of this, has acquired a strong passion for learning. More specifically, imagine your student’s passion is biochemistry. Heading to the final year, your student looks forward to walking across the stage at the graduation ceremony. Things are looking good! Your child scored well on the SAT and has applied to half a dozen universities. On the top of the list is the best public university for biochemistry in Texas.
Unfortunately, however, your high-achieving student soon receives a letter in the mail stating a denied admission to the first choice university. “How could this be?!” you ask yourself. The transcript proves straight A scores through the high school years with an exceptional arsenal of extracurricular activities, including internships and volunteer hours. The SAT score qualifies as just as well as or better than most other students applying to the same school. What could possibly have caused the denial letter?
Reality of Discrimination
For years now, many of the admissions offices of public universities and colleges in the state of Texas have discriminated against non-traditional students such as home schoolers. In many different cases they made it increasingly more difficult for these students to gain admission, and they did this by requiring different or higher standardized test scores from these non-traditional students.
Finally, Equality for Home School Graduates
In 2015, during the 84th Texas Legislature, THSC collaborated with Sen. Charles Perry and his staff to fix this problem once and for all. Together, we drafted Senate Bill 1543, also known as the Equal College Opportunity bill, intending to prevent public colleges and universities in Texas from discriminating against home school students and other non-traditional students. By passing this bill, THSC ensured that the same opportunities were given to every home school student that were afforded to the public school student, specifically including acceptance to these higher educational institutions.
This bill does two very important things:
- Prohibit higher test scores for non-traditional students
Some admissions offices of public universities and colleges blatantly required non-traditional students, such as home school graduates, to score higher than the average accredited high school graduate in order to gain admission.
- Prohibit randomly assigning a default class rank to non-traditional students
Previously, many of those same colleges and universities assigned a class rank under the 50th percentile to non-traditional students. Now, the school would have to place the non-traditional student in the same class rank in which an accredited school graduate with the same standardized test scores would be placed.
Success for Texas Families
These two changes create an equal playing field for home schoolers and other non-traditional students in comparison to traditional public school students. THSC wants to ensure Texas families equal opportunity for their students. We want your children to succeed in pursuing their passions and not have unfair and undue obstacles in the process.
In May 2015, Senate Bill 1543 passed through the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate unanimously, and Governor Abbott recently signed this bill into Texas law. THSC firmly believes that home school students are capable of accomplishing many incredible things and, regardless of whether they have graduated already, we truly believe that it is our duty and our responsibility to protect the rights of every Texas home schooler.