HEF Newsletter November 2011

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The Home Education Foundation Newsletter

Home Educators' Voice At The Capitol - Florida
Providing information and insights to Florida Home Educators November 2011
In This Issue

Ask Brenda

Language Flagship Program

FLVS Chinese - Key to Student’s Future

HEF at Work for You!
-Diploma Validation

Have Brenda Speak to Your Group


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  Brenda Dickinson

Ask Brenda

Is the "Letter of Termination" the same as the "Signed Affidavit"?

No. the "Letter of Termination" is given to the District Superintendent in order to terminate your student's home education program. It is required by Florida law and does not need to be notarized. If parents fail to submit this document, it appears that home educators are not in compliance with the law when they fail to submit an annual evaluation. This letter simply closes the student’s home education file for purposes of compulsory attendance.

The "Signed Affidavit," however, is a legal document and requires notarization. The Florida law states that parents can provide a signed affidavit attesting that the student has completed their home education program. In Florida law it is equivalent for purposes of admission to a Florida state college to a high school diploma or a GED. You can find a sample “letter of termination” and a sample “signed affidavit” on the www.flhef.org website under forms.

If you have a home education question you would like Brenda to answer in a future issue, please submit it to www.flhef.org/contact-us

 

Language Flagship Program

For students who know their career plans, foreign languages may be an important part of reaching those goals. For other students taking a foreign language is just a requirement for graduation or university admission. However we live in a global society where many jobs, even here in the United States, require fluency in a second language.

After 911, President Bush along with the Secretaries of State, Education and Defense and the Director of National Intelligence developed a comprehensive plan focused on expanding foreign languages beginning in kindergarten. The purpose of this program is to encourage reform, promote understanding and convey respect and understanding of America and its citizens. To do this Americans need to be able to communicate in other languages.

The Language Flagship Program http://www.thelanguageflagship.org focuses on intense instruction by native speaking instructors, studies abroad and exchange programs. Immersion better prepares students to understand the culture, speak with superior fluency, and establish relationships that foster respect and understanding of America and its culture.

There are scholarships to bring native speaking teachers to the United States and scholarships to pay for summer and full-year immersion studies abroad. Students will be immersed in the language program while at the same time pursuing a degree in the major(s) of their choice. The students completing this program are considered professionals in the global economy and are offered employment by private companies, the US government, agencies and commissions. To learn more about the career and internship opportunities available through the State Department's Language Flagship Program visit http://careers.state.gov/students/programs

If your child is interested in exchange opportunities to learn a language abroad, you might want to explore these websites. http://www.state.gov/youthandeducation/ http://educationusa.state.gov/ http://www.nsliforyouth.org/

Any student planning to attend a Florida college or university is required to have taken two sequential courses in a foreign language before entering the upper division of a state university. It is also a requirement of the Medallion Bright Futures Scholarship IF a home education student chooses to apply for the award based on the lower SAT/ACT score by validating the 16 required courses in a Florida public or a Florida private school. So, what choices do home educated students have to obtain those credits?

Since the credits will only be accepted from a Florida public or private school, the two best options would be FLVS or Dual Enrollment in a Florida college. Dual enrollment may be a good option for students who want to fulfill the requirement and get college credit at the same time. However, proximity to a college, selection of courses and quality of instruction should also be considered. FLVS may be a better option for students who live at a distance from the college, may not be able to get the language he or she wants or who may be considering foreign language as a major.

Not all languages are taught at every institution so deciding what you plan to use the language for may determine whether you take the language through dual enrollment or FLVS.

P.S. If you have a story to share about how HEF has helped you, how your family has benefited from home education, or a question you would like to ask Brenda, please e-mail it here.

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FLVS Chinese - Key to Student’s Future

Nicole Hughes, a former home-educated student, discovered an exciting opportunity to further her career goals while taking Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Chinese. Nicole wanted to work for a large international corporation and knew that having a second language would certainly be an advantage in today’s global economy. Nicole’s mom was doubtful that her daughter could learn a foreign language online, especially Mandarin Chinese, but Nicole wanted to learn Mandarin and decided to take it through FLVS with a native speaking teacher. Nicole not only excelled in FLVS Chinese I, II and III, but also excelled in dual enrollment courses at Tallahassee Community College.

Although, Nicole was an outstanding athlete and had swim scholarship offers, she wanted to become proficient in Chinese and study accounting. Her dad’s research led them to the Language Flagship Program offered at the University of Mississippi. Nicole’s FLVS teacher encouraged her to apply to the Language Flagship program, giving her an excellent recommendation. After Ole Miss conducted a phone interview to determine her proficiency in Mandarin Chinese, Nicole was told that her spoken Mandarin (tone) was better than most public or private school students that entered their program. As a result, Nicole was awarded scholarships to study Mandarin Chinese.

The students in the Ole Miss Chinese program will spend three summers, as well as their fifth year, in China studying in an immersion program to gain proficiency in the language and learn the culture. At the end of each academic year, Nicole will have to pass a proficiency test to remain in the program. If she has a superior rating on her final exam, she may be offered a job with the CIA or FBI and potentially many other global companies.

Nicole’s younger sister is currently taking Latin at FLVS to get a good foundation, but plans to finish her language requirement through dual enrollment. She hopes to major in computer engineering and is currently taking FLVS AP Computer Science. Stay tuned for the next newsletter where we will explore the FLVS computer engineering program!

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HEF at Work for You!

Florida State Colleges Ask For Diploma Validation

In July, it was brought to the attention of HEF that some state college websites contained statements that would require home education students to validate their diploma by providing a transcript. However, home education students do not have to validate a diploma at Florida state colleges for admission or to receive federal financial aid. The Florida statute s.1007.263(2) reads:

Admission to associate degree programs is subject to minimum standards adopted by the State Board of Education and shall require…in the case of a student who is home educated, a signed affidavit submitted by the student’s parent or legal guardian attesting that the student has completed a home education program pursuant to the requirements of s.1002.41.

After making a few calls, Brenda Dickinson discovered that the statement resulted from a misunderstanding of a Memo from the Florida Department of Education, Division of State Colleges, sent to all state colleges in May, 2011, clarifying the new guidelines for validating diplomas in the Federal Student Aid Handbook (FSAH) in order to identify and eliminate “diploma mills.” The Memo addressed validation of diplomas, but failed to mention that the Federal Student Aid Handbook on page 1-7 specifically excludes home educated students from having to validate a diploma for the purpose of receiving federal financial aid.

Homeschooling
Though homeschooled students are not considered to have a high school diploma or equivalent, they are eligible to receive FSA funds if their secondary school education was in a homeschool that state law treats as a home or private school. http://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/1112FSAHbkVol1.html

Even though the intent of the federal law, as interpreted in the FSAH, was to make sure that students from “diploma mills” did not receive federal aid, state colleges were trying to “kill two birds with one stone” by combining eligibility for admission to a Florida college with eligibility to receive federal financial aid.

Brenda has been working with the Division of State Colleges to make the admission directors aware that home education students do not have to have a diploma for admission to a state college or for receiving federal financial aid.

If your child encounters any problems with admissions to a state college, please contact HEF.

NOTE: When filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/form (also required for Bright Futures Scholarships),be sure to mark on question #26, that your student was home schooled .

 
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Have Brenda Speak to Your Group

Throughout the year, Brenda travels the state updating home educator's on legislative issues that can have an effect on home education in Florida, how to stay informed and ways to communicate needs appropriately.

If you would like Brenda to speak to your homeschool group, please send an email request via the HEF contact page.

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