Transfer vs. Credits

Understanding The Difference Between a School Transfer and Transfer Credits

Under Wisconsin law, a homeschool or Home Based Private Educational Program (HBPEP) is a legal category of school, equal to a public school or private school for the purpose of fulfilling Wisconsin’s compulsory attendance requirement (Wis Stat 115.001(3)(g); 118.165(1)).

Transferring from a Wisconsin Homeschool to a Wisconsin Public School

Under Wisconsin law, public schools must provide a free education to every student residing in the district (Wisconsin Constitution, Article X, Section III). School districts cannot refuse to accept students transferring from an HBPEP.

When a student transfers from an HBPEP to a public school, there are no requirements under the law that the parent / HBPEP administrator provide the public school with any records, including attendance, curriculum, test results, grades, privately administered assessments, progress reports, transcripts or any other records. For any student transferring from an HBPEP into a public school, the student’s resident school district already has a copy of the properly filed PI-1206 Homeschool Report/s for that student. For any student transferring from an HBPEP into a new school district (for example, after a move), the parent / administrator may share a copy of the previously filed PI-1206 Homeschool Reports with the new school district, or direct the district to request a copy from the Department of Public Instruction.

If a parent / HBPEP administrator chooses to share more than is required by law, they may do so. Such optional documentation may include a transcript of any style that the administrator chooses.

Remember that doing more than the law requires sets precedents and puts the rights of other homeschooling families at risk.  

Any time you do more than the law requires, and provide a school or district with more than your acknowledgement that your child was legally homeschooled, you are putting the rights of every homeschool family in Wisconsin at risk. Remember that you are able to exercise your right to homeschool your child only because other homeschooling families worked hard to do only what the law requires, and keep that right protected for you and your family. Please respect the hard work that has been done to protect this right and do no more than the law requires when your homeschooling journey concludes.

Transferring Credits from a Wisconsin Homeschool to a Wisconsin Public School

There is nothing in Wisconsin law that requires public schools to accept credit transfers from HBPEP’s. The institutionally-driven mission and purpose of public schools does not neatly align with the parentally-driven mission and purpose of homeschools, and each institution gets to set their own rules for the administration of school credits. 

If a previously homeschooled student wishes to transfer credits from their HBPEP to their public school, they will need to advocate for themselves with their local school / school district. Public schools can use a variety of assessments to decide on placement. Transcripts are only one kind of assessment; other kinds include completed work, interviews, outside testing, and school placement tests. Each parent will need to advocate for their own children, but once a child enters the public school system, the school gets to set the rules for assigning credits. 

Does the Refusal of Public Schools To Accept Transfer Credits from HBPEP’s Constitute Discrimination?

In short, no. Public schools can set the requirements for credits earned in their high school program. As long as all requirements regarding the transfer of credits from HBPEP’s apply equally to all HBPEP students entering the school, public schools may set their own rules regarding the transfer of credits. 

If you suspect your public school district is systematically treating some homeschooled students differently from others, against district policy, a good first step is to ask for your school district’s transfer of credits policies in writing. If there are no such policies in writing, you can consider asking why not, and raising the issue to your local school board. You can also reach out to WHPA with information about appearances of discrimination against HBPEP students.

Last Updated on 09/09/21

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