Home schoolers in South Dakota were recently faced with a serious threat to their home-schooling liberties. This January, Representative Barbara Everist introduced House Bill 1262, which would require all home schoolers in the state to be certified teachers by the year 2000. When home schoolers contacted Representative Everist, they were surprised to learn that she felt she was being particularly understanding by giving them six years to obtain a teaching certificate. However, when Mary Sayler of Pierre, South Dakota, explained that there were certain constitutional problems with teacher certification, Representative Everist indicated that she would be open to considering such issues.
Home School Legal Defense Association sent out an alert to its members concerning this bill, and home school leaders throughout the state alerted their members to call the Senate and the House. South Dakota home schoolers asked HSLDA attorney Christopher Klicka to send information on the constitutionality of teacher certification. Klicka sent a letter to Representative Everist explaining, first, that studies show teacher certification is not necessary for children to be educated and, second, that teacher certification is an unconstitutional requirement since it is not essential nor is it the least restrictive means for children to be educated. He cited HSLDA’s DeJonge case from the Michigan Supreme Court as the most recent case striking down the teacher certification requirement.
Not wanting to introduce any unconstitutional legislation, Representative Everist agreed to withdraw her bill. We praise God for this quick resolution and defeat of a bill which, by the year 2000, would have prohibited many South Dakota families from home schooling.