In 2015, the Diploma Fairness Bill was passed by the WV Legislature and became law:
“A person who administers a program of secondary education at a public, private or home school that meets the requirements of this chapter may issue a diploma or other appropriate credential to a person who has completed the program of secondary education. Such diploma or credential is legally sufficient to demonstrate that the person meets the definition of having a high school diploma or its equivalent.”
This law ensures that a person who homeschools his child and is in compliance with the homeschool exemption may issue a diploma upon completion of graduation requirements. And students who have earned such a homeschool diploma must be considered equally for acceptance by a college or for employment in West Virginia. In fact, the Diploma Fairness law further states:
“No state agency or institution of higher learning in this state may reject or otherwise treat a person differently solely on the grounds of the source of such a diploma or credential.”
While this bill doesn’t elevate a homeschool diploma above any other, it puts homeschool graduates on equal footing. A homeschool graduation credential is not inferior in WV.
“Nothing in this section prevents any agency or institution of higher learning from inquiring into the substance or content of the program to assess the content thereof for the purposes of determining whether a person meets other specific requirements.”
Rightly so, it’s not illegal or unethical to ask what the graduation requirements were. And for that information, the usual documentation is a high school transcript.
A diploma from any source is worth the weight of the entity that awarded the diploma. So, for example, is a WV public school diploma worth anything in California? It would depend on whether California entities respect West Virginia schools. If not, they might look more heavily at a WV graduate’s standardized test scores, work history (if graduated for a while), undergraduate/graduate/post-graduate degrees/coursework, or references.
The exact same is true of a homeschool diploma. When homeschool parents award a diploma, they are certifying that the student completed the requirements for graduation from that homeschool. That homeschool diploma should be respected as any other diploma is respected – and in West Virginia, thanks to the diploma fairness law, it is.
But a diploma alone doesn’t show what the graduation requirements were. What was studied and learned in order to graduate is generally recorded on a transcript, not a diploma.
If a parent cannot produce a diploma and/or transcript, the school or other entity may require a GED or equivalent–either because a diploma was not supported by a transcript or not awarded at all. But when only a diploma is required, no agency in WV may discriminate against a homeschool diploma.