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South Dakota

April 6, 2006

House Bill 1236: An Act to create the South Dakota Virtual High School

Sponsor:
The Committee on Education at the request of the Governor.

Summary:
This bill would create a state-run virtual charter school. This would be a fiscal disaster for South Dakota taxpayers already struggling to pay steep property taxes.

Status:

01/25/2006First read in House and referred to House Education.
02/07/2006 Scheduled for committee hearing on this date. Committee voted do pass, 14-0.
02/08/2006House of Representatives Deferred To Another Day Passed.
02/09/2006 House Scheduled For Floor Vote.
02/09/2006 House of Representatives Motion To Amend Passed Amendment (1236cb).
02/09/2006House of Representatives Do Pass as Amended Passed, Yeas 57, Nays 11.
02/10/2006 First read in Senate and referred to Senate Education.
02/16/2006Senate Education Hearing. Committee voted do pass, 5-0.
02/08/2006 Senate voted Do Pass as Amended 26-9.
02/24/2006 House of Representatives failed to concur, conference committee appointed.
02/27/2006Senate conference committee report passed 33-2.
02/27/2006House conference committee report passed 64-4.
3/21/2006 Signed by Governor.

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time.

Background:

1. In other states where public-school-at-home programs have been created, the schools have heavily or exclusively recruited among homeschool families to fill their program. Therefore, private homeschooling, which was previously free to the taxpayer, becomes expensive taxpayer funded public school in the home.

2. In Kansas, entire homeschool support groups vanished after intensive recruitment by public-school-at-home programs.

3. In Alaska, parent-directed home education has nearly ceased to exist because of public-school-at-home programs. In fact, approximately 80% of homeschoolers are now government homeschoolers. The main homeschool conventions are government run and the largest homeschool newsletter is government produced. Of course, there are no mentions of God or Christianity.

4. Public-school-at-home programs initially lure homeschool families by the promise of certain "freebies" such as free curriculum and laptop computers. Also, your children will no longer be considered private homeschool students, but rather public school students. This means you waive certain parental rights and agree to homeschool according to the public school's rules. In other states with similar "virtual" charter school programs, HSLDA has observed that more and more regulations are gradually placed on the homeschooler each year.

5. As experienced in other states, public school-at-home programs will place many restrictions on homeschoolers who participate, and public school personnel will:

  • develop personal learning plans for your children;
  • assess your children accordingly;
  • require you use a secular curriculum;
  • have certified teachers supervise you;
  • require your child to participate in all required state assessments; and reduce parents to the role of "learning coach . . . consulting frequently with public teachers."

5. HSLDA does not accept public-school-at-home families into membership, because it is not parent-controlled education.

This is not the free, private homeschooling that has been so successful all these years. This is simply an attempt by the government to create small public schools in our homes.

Please read the articles on virtual charter schools on our website.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History