Should the local public school be allowed to block your homeschool student from taking the GED test? They actually have the power to do that right now.

We homeschoolers have more work to do to change this.

UPDATE: Although our GED bill did not receive a hearing in the 2021 long legislative session, this issue has since been resolved for private school and homeschool students with the 2023 bill HB3068. Local public schools are no longer allowed to block private school or homeschool students from taking the GED test. Read the rest of our update here.

SB 855 GED Equity Bill - Freedom Watch Alert from OCEANetwork

Oregon homeschool students and private school students who are 16 or 17 years of age are being denied the opportunity to earn a GED if the local school district does not give them permission to take the test. That causes problems when the college they want to enroll in requires a GED for under-18 applicants. Public school students, meanwhile, have a clear path to a GED.

This unfair treatment of homeschool and private school students is caused by Oregon Department of Education (ODE) policy which requires local school district permission for homeschool and private school students to take the GED test even though some districts refuse to issue any such releases.

The GED test publisher enforces the ODE policy and GED testing centers require our 16- and 17-year olds to get a signed form from the local school district before they can take the GED test. You can verify this permission requirement by asking a local GED testing center what is necessary for an underage homeschool or private school student to take a GED test.

The GED test publisher’s rule is at https://ged.com/policies/oregon/.

How old do I need to be to take the test?

You must be 18 years old to test in Oregon.

I’m underage. What do I need to do to take the test?

You can be 16 and take the GED® test if you:

– Are enrolled in an Oregon Option Program for In School Youth or exempted from the school district where you live

– Are married or legally emancipated.

The public policy question is this: Should government agencies be allowed to block homeschool and private school students, who are legally exempt from compulsory attendance, from earning their GED?  The answer has to be No, especially when public school students can get their GED unhindered.

OCEANetwork asked Oregon State Senator Kim Thatcher to sponsor a bill to remedy this situation. The bill is SB 855 and here is the new language:

SECTION 2. A state agency, a school district, an education service district or a community college district may not adopt any rule or policy that prohibits a person from taking an approved high school equivalency test or from receiving a certificate for passing an approved high school equivalency test if the person is:
(1) A resident of this state;
(2) Sixteen years of age or older; and
(3) Exempt from compulsory school attendance as provided by ORS 339.030.

SB 855 has not been referred to a Committee. Senate President Peter Courtney can do this. We have learned that he can refer a bill to the Senate Committee On Rules even though the deadline for other Committees has passed.

Senator Courtney needs to hear from you. If you contacted him before, he needs to hear from you again.

Ask him to “Please refer SB 855, the GED Equity Bill, to the Senate Committee On Rules so that the bill does not die.” Give your reasons. Use your own words. Be very polite; he is not required to do this.

If you know a homeschool family whose student was denied permission from the public school to take a GED test, please include that information. No personal names, but the name of the school district would be helpful. In this case, please copy your email to OCEANetwork at mail@oceanetwork.org so we have it.

Senator Courtney can be contacted at:

Senate President Peter Courtney

Please pray with us that God will protect Oregon homeschooling families by stopping the present bias against 16- and 17-year old homeschool and private school students who want to earn their GED.

Thank you for taking action on this.

Rodger Williams
OCEANetwork Freedom Watch Team

If you have questions about this alert, please contact OCEANetwork here so we can forward it on to our Freedom Watch Team.


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