Obtaining a diploma in one of Louisiana’s unapproved schools won’t take four years of education, just a few hundred dollars, according to a recent report.
Springfield Prepatory School provides “Christian homeschooling and adult education assistance,” according to its website. It also provides adults “that have been through homeschooling” assistance in obtaining their high school diploma.
Over 21,000 students are enrolled in the unapproved schools across Louisiana, like Springfield Prep, according to the AP. Unlike public schools with hundreds or thousands of students, these private schools are created to serve individual homeschooling families.
Kitty Sibley Morrison, Springfield Prep’s principal, told the AP she is not selling diplomas.
“We’re not here to make money,” she said.
“We serve the poor in ministry here,” Sibley Morrison added in a brief statement to Fox News. “Helping them to understand how to use their parental rights to choose homeschooling. We facilitate parental homeschooling with support services.”
Arliya Martin accepted her diploma from Springfield Prep this year.
After getting kicked out of high school in 10th grade, Martin attempted to get her GED without success. This summer, she met Morrison and within days had a diploma in her hand. The document was backdated to 2015, according to the AP.
A Louisiana Department of Education spokesperson told the AP diplomas cannot generally be awarded retroactively.
Martin’s diploma stated she had completed a program for graduation “approved by the Louisiana Board of Education.” Sibley Morrison later admitted there had been a mistake and that the document would be corrected, according to the AP.
Sibley Morrison said her school can advertise “state-approved” diplomas since she encourages families in her program to simultaneously enroll in state-approved home study program.
“I inform the poor of the rights they have had for fifty years, but have been deprived of the knowledge by the media and the public school system,” said Sibley Morrison. “I keep on top of all laws regarding Christian homeschooling.”
“When parents say, ‘My child is ready to go into the real world’ — I take their word for it,” she said.
The number of students enrolled in the state’s unapproved schools has nearly doubled since before the pandemic from around 11,600 in the 2017-18 school year to more than 21,000 in 2022-23, according to data obtained through a public records request by the AP and The Advocate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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