- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 30, 2002

University did not reject home-grown scholars

An assertion presented as fact in last Sunday's editorial "Homeschooling and Its Foes" is inaccurate and misrepresents Baylor University's policies and practices involving home-schooled students. The erroneous assertion is that "In Texas, Baylor University formally accepted six students, only to deny them admission after realizing that they were home-schooled."
Here are some important facts regarding Baylor's position on home-schooled students:
First, Baylor University welcomes home-schooled students who meet the minimum criteria established by state and federal laws. Over the past six years, Baylor has enrolled more than 35 home-schooled students, and four home-schooled students entered Baylor this past fall. At least four more home-schooled students are scheduled to enroll at Baylor in fall 2002. Home-schooled students have participated in some of Baylor's most rigorous academic programs, such as University Scholars and the Honors Program, and have gone on to enroll in some of the nation's most prestigious graduate and professional schools after graduating from Baylor. A home-schooled student also was elected recently as Baylor's student body vice president. The Baylor admissions office has a long-standing practice of treating home-schooled students with the same respect extended to students from other private and public schools.
Second, the influencing factors in the six cases in which home-schooled students were not granted regular admissions status were federal and state laws, not Baylor's own admissions standards. In fact, Baylor in 1996 dropped a requirement that all home-schooled students submit a general equivalency diploma, or GED, as a requirement for admission. This change in our policy was made specifically in response to requests from home-schooled students and their parents.
Third, Baylor learned, through a voluntary external review of its financial aid office, that the state of Texas had changed the age of compulsory attendance from completion of the academic year in which the student turned 17 to 18. That change, which had escaped the notice of other colleges and universities in Texas, was a major contributing factor that triggered a review of the six home-school cases, as well as other private school cases that dealt with underage applicants. Baylor is bound by U.S. Department of Education regulations and state laws that require that students meet certain minimum criteria for college admission. Those laws state that any institution of higher education that administers federal financial assistance in accordance with Title IV of the Higher Education Act and its amendments is subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Education. Under these federal laws, Baylor may admit as regular students only those persons who have a high school diploma, have the equivalent of a high school diploma or are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the state in which the institution is located, which in Texas is 18. The Texas Education Agency does not recognize home-school diplomas.
Fourth, Baylor's admissions and general counsel's offices invested untold hours on these six cases trying to find ways to accommodate the students while adhering to state and federal laws. Last fall, solutions were identified in all six cases that either allowed, or would allow, these home-schooled students to enroll at Baylor.
Fifth, there are complex legal questions involved in the home-schooling issue, and not everyone agrees on the interpretations. Baylor's interpretation was made after very careful study and after numerous consultations with state and federal officials. It is not a closed issue, however. Baylor attorneys and governmental relations staff are continuing to work on this matter. Clearly, this controversy has pointed out the need for changes in state and federal laws and regulations to achieve fair and consistent treatment of home-schooled students. Baylor will continue to work with its contacts in Congress and in Austin to help see that this happens.
Finally, it is important to emphasize what was at stake in this issue. If Baylor had not followed federal law, the federal financial aid of thousands of Baylor students including some home-schooled students would have been put at risk. It would have been irresponsible for Baylor to ignore the law and potentially cost students millions of dollars in financial aid.

LORI SCOTT FOGELMAN
Office of Press Relations
Baylor University
Waco, Texas

Keep out (unless you want some TLC)

I'm not surprised that the chief U.S. Border Patrol agent, David V. Aguilar, would go before the League of United Latin American Citizens and make the astonishing statement that it is the responsibility of the United States to provide protection to Mexicans who attempt to enter the U.S. illegally ("Top agent says U.S. must care for illegals," Page One, June 27).
Obviously, Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner James Ziglar has once again neglected to remind his Border Patrol chief that they both are charged with upholding U.S. laws and protecting our borders against illegal immigration.
It is not up to American taxpayers to provide care and comfort to illegal aliens who are intent upon breaking our laws and suffer mishaps or death in the process.

YVONNE M. WOHLERS
Williamsburg

It's Greek to me

Michelle Malkin writes, "The Hippocratic oath states clearly: 'I will maintain the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life'" ("Medical specialty in retreat," Commentary, June 15).
There were no such words in the 2,400-year-old oath when I took it 30 years ago, and I am quite confident there never have been. All that the affiant recites in this regard is, " I will not give a woman a destructive pessary" (an abortifacient). So where did Mrs. Malkin come up with this tendentious "revision" of the oath?
DR. M. LOUIS OFFEN
Rockville

Editor's note: Mrs. Malkin quoted the oath from "A.D. 1995 Restatement of the Oath of Hippocrates," which is on a Web site linked to the American Medical Association's Web site.

Equal time for Palestinians

Archbishop Desmond Tutu's recent words comparing Israel's treatment of the Palestinians to the treatment of blacks in apartheid-era South Africa and the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany came to mind as I read Cal Thomas' continuing verbal terrorism and hateful words toward Palestinians ("Terrorism gets the door," Commentary, June 28).
Let us review some basic facts: Israel has no constitution but a set of "basic laws." These allow any Jew (including converts to Judaism) to acquire automatic citizenship while denying it to millions of Palestinian refugees regardless of the fact that they were expelled from their lands. Land ownership laws and absentee property laws are strictly based on "Jewishness." Jews can lease state lands while non-Jews may be barred from using their own lands under the absentee property laws (even if they are "citizens").
Israel is the only country in the world that distinguishes citizenship from nationality and considers all Jews, regardless of their citizenship, as "nationals" of the state and reserves 93 percent of housing and farming lands for their use. Israel is the only country in the world that prohibits any party from running in parliamentary elections if its platform includes advocating a pluralistic society (i.e., denying the "Jewish character" of the state).
Israel is the fourth strongest military power in the world and has a stockpile of weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear weapons). Israel used U.S.-supplied F-16s, Apache helicopters, M-1 tanks and armored bulldozers to raze villages. Some 70 percent of Palestinian natives thus were rendered refugees.
Israel is able to continue its oppression due to significant U.S. aid, to the tune of $10 million dollars per day of our taxes, and a U.S. diplomatic shield (a U.S. veto or threat of veto used to support Israel at the United Nations). The nonsense about personalities whether Yasser Arafat or Ariel Sharon is to blame for the violence in Palestine would be truly laughable except that children continue to be killed (at a ratio of four Palestinian children for every Israeli child) while Israeli apologists continue to engage in these verbal exercises of blaming anti-American terrorism on Islam, Arabs and everyone and everything except the real culprit: U.S. support of Israeli colonization of Palestine.

MAZIN QUMSIYEH
Orange, Conn.


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