All diplomas awarded to Pennsylvania public school students are not equal in the eyes of the military. Students attending any of the state’s dozen public cyberschools are learning that the hard way.
The U.S. Department of Defense regards graduates of these online schools to be less adaptable to military life. The military prefers that no more than 10 percent of new recruits in any branch of service hold something other than a traditional high school diploma, according to Defense Department officials.
[JW] of Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, found that out too late, as did the son of Kerry Novak of Fayette County. Now their entrance into the military is delayed by months, or possibly indefinitely.
Both graduated in the spring. [W] from Central PA Digital Learning Foundation Charter School and Novak’s son from PA Cyber Charter School.
[W] aspires to join the Marines; Novak’s son hopes to join the Army. Novak’s son asked to have his first name withheld to avoid any possible repercussions from the military.
After being led to believe by their cyberschool staff or recruiter that their diploma would open the door to their dream of joining the military and serving their country, the door slammed shut on them shortly after graduation…
But defense officials say they have studies backing their stance. “For over 20 years, we have used education credentials to predict adaptability to military life,” said Eileen Lainez, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Individuals with a diploma from a distance or virtual education program perform more like GED credential holders than traditional high school diploma graduates.”…
Major Cory Angell of the Pennsylvania National Guard said the Guard is required to adhere to the Department of Defense’s limit of no more than 10 percent of their recruits having anything other than a traditional high school diploma.
But he said cyberschool graduates could take their diploma to a recruiter and ask for a review in the event the current recruitment pool has slots open to qualified applicants…
Central PA Digital Learning Foundation Charter School
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TAKES A DIM VIEW OF CYBERSCHOOL DIPLOMAS; November 28, 2010; The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA)