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A great amendment was added to HB 1013 today!
Howard Richman, 6/27/2014

I am very pleased that Pennsylvania House Bill 1013, a bill that improves the PA Home Education Law, was amended on the House Floor today in a way which should please all homeschoolers. Supervisor-issued diplomas (also signed by the evaluator) will be recognized by law, and there is also specific language putting into law that  homeschool associations recognized by the PA Department of Education can also issue diplomas. 

HB 1013 has now been referred to the Appropriations Committee and will likely pass at the end of this month as part of the grand budget compromise between the Republicans in the House, the Republicans in the Senate and the Corbett administration.

Here's what happened today. First, Representative Mark Longietti proposed the amendment that we had asked him to propose, but it was narrowly defeated. The vote was 99 in favor and 103 against. Nine Republican representatives voted for Longietti’s amendment, even though Longietti is a Democrat.

Then Representative James R. Roebuck, the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee, proposed two amendments to the bill. They were both defeated because Republicans, almost unanimously, voted against them.

Then Representative Will Tallman, whose wife Suzanne is the homeschool liaison at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, proposed a great amendment which leaves the new provision recognizing parent-issued diplomas intact, but adds in new language continuing recognition of diplomas issued by “an approved diploma-granting organization.” That amendment adds two new sections to the bill. To Section D.1 (1) it adds:

(II) IN THE CASE OF A DIPLOMA AWARDED BY AN APPROVED DIPLOMA-GRANTING ORGANIZATION THE FOLLOWING SHALL APPLY:

(A) THE STUDENT RECEIVING THE DIPLOMA SHALL HAVE COMPLETED ALL THE REQUIREMENTS IN SUBSECTION (D) WHILE ENROLLED IN A HOME EDUCATION PROGRAM THAT IS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS SECTION.

(B) THE DIPLOMA SHALL BE AWARDED TO THE STUDENT ON A STANDARDIZED FORM TO BE DEVELOPED BY THE ORGANIZATION.

And to Section D.1 it adds:

(2) THE DEPARTMENT SHALL ESTABLISH ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA AND AN APPLICATION PROCESS FOR APPROVING DIPLOMA-GRANTING ORGANIZATIONS TO AWARD HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMAS TO STUDENTS ENROLLED IN HOME EDUCATION PROGRAMS. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL MAINTAIN A LIST OF APPROVED DIPLOMA-GRANTING ORGANIZATIONS AND POST THE LIST ON THE DEPARTMENT'S PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE INTERNET WEBSITE.

Rep. Tallman’s amendment passed by a vote of 195 to 7! Only one Republican (Boback) voted against it. Only six Democrats (M. Daley, Kotik, McCarter, D. Miller, Pashinski and Petrarca) voted against it.

After the vote, the bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee which is now putting together a grand compromise with the Senate that will likely pass and get signed by the Governor around the end of this month when the budget is passed.

What appeared to mean evil for the homeschool association diploma turned into something that means good. I think it was God’s design all along as in Genesis (50:19-20).

Now is the time to thank all of our Representatives who voted for this amendment and to urge our Representatives and Senators to pass HB 1013 now that this amendment has been included.


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