Indiana-based energy company NiSource has taken a big step in discriminatory hiring practices. It was reported earlier this year that a man who had been offered a job with the company had that offer rescinded when it was discovered he was a homeschool graduate. Since that story was reported, NiSource has doubled down on their position, telling the Home School Legal Defense Association that their policy is "firm". They will not be considering homeschool education a valid form of education, and will not hire graduates relying on homeschool diplomas.
The original story, first reported in May of this year, involved a man who had been offered a job with the company. He had years of relevant job experience. He had college courses in the relevant field and made the dean's list at a recognized state college. He had appropriate technical certifications. A seemingly ideal candidate, the man was offered a position, but later had the offer withdrawn after the company stated that they did not recognize his homeschool diploma as a legitimate high school diploma. The HSLDA disputes their assertion, and states that they have successfully resolved such questions in the past.
"Although we are usually able to resolve problems related to homeschool diplomas with employers and higher education officials, many human resources or admissions officials misunderstand Ohio law which recognizes homeschooling as a legal and valid form of education."
Nevertheless, not only has NiSource stood by their original decision, they have expanded on their decision as being a company-wide policy.
In a phone interview, HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly shared the details of their dispute and correspondence with NiSource. Donnelly says they sent "numerous" letters detailing how homeschooling is a valid form of education, legally recognized in Ohio. He explained to their attorney, Adele O'Connor, that in fact the state of Ohio specifically considers a homeschool diploma to be "equivalent to an accredited public education." He stated that despite their claim, the company has no "legal impediment" to hiring a homeschool graduate.
The company, however, disagrees. Donnelly gave Truth Revolt NiSource's exact words regarding their policy, not only as it pertains in this case, but as dictates their hiring practices going forward.
"Although these policies may be disappointing to impacted invididuals, the company's position remains firm."
That means, as a matter of policy, the company does not, and will not, recognize a homeschool education as a valid, legal education "equivalent to an accredited public education," despite the clear legal status conferred by the state.
As opposition to Common Core rises, many parents are considering or have already made the switch to homeschooling their children to ensure a proper education. Many parents see the imposition of these across the board standards as not only a step backward in education, but a step forward in statism. How much more so, then, when discriminatory hiring practices in ignorance of or opposition to both legal definitions and available evidence of standards are embraced by major employers putting people in the position of being forced to endure those federal directives?
Donnelly and the HSLDA would remind Americans and especially companies like NiSource that research abounds proving that graduates of homeschool education are at least as well rounded in their education and prepared for the work force as students of public education. Most homeschool parents and graduates would say they are far better equipped. And in this particular case, the candidate was clearly qualified for the position. It was only the company's bias that prevented him from working.