Schools in Logan County are experiencing higher than average enrollment in homeschooling. An official from the Logan County Board of Education stated, in the first two weeks of school, 86 students were home schooled in the county. In a normative year, around 25 students would be enrolled in homeschooling during the first two weeks of school.
While parents are free to home school their children for any reason, many children who are home-schooled are enrolled in parochial programs or have intervening health issues. However, the more than threefold increase in children enrolled in homeschooling in Logan County over a one year period should not be discussed without exploring a new state law that went into effect June 14, 2015.
Senate Bill number 447 was introduced into the West Virginia State Senate Feb. 10, 2015. The bill amended West Virginia law code allowing an, “administrator of secondary education program at public, private or home school to issue diploma or other appropriate credential; establishing legal sufficiency of diploma or credential; prohibiting discrimination by state agency or institution of higher learning; and reserving to state agency and institution of higher learning authority to inquire about program content for certain purposes.”
On March 2, 2015, Senate Bill number 447 passed the West Virginia State Senate by a vote of 33 to zero. On March 14, 99 members of the West Virginia House of Delegates voted in favor of Senate Bill number 447 with only one member of the body (Deem R – Wood) abstaining from the vote.
Formerly, a child enrolled in home schooling had to complete a general equivalency exam before being granted a diploma; however, Senate Bill number 447 allows for administrators of home school programs (in many cases the parent) to grant the child a degree when they feel the child has achieved the 12th grade learning objectives.
Whereas the bill allows for home school administrators to award diplomas, it also also requires institutions of higher education and state agencies to recognize the diplomas with the caveat that state agencies and institutions of higher education can look into portions of the programs. With the law in its infancy, only time will tell how the system of checking into the efficacy of the home school-awarded diplomas will turn out.