The Home School Court Report
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Cover Story
Erasing the Barriers for Children with Special Learning Needs

Special Features

An Interview with the Forstroms

An Interview with Betty Statnick: HSLDAís Special Needs Coordinator

National Center Reports

Will the 2000 Elections Impact Home School Freedom?

106th Congress Wrap-Up

Across the States

State by State

Regular Features

Active Cases

Prayer and Praise

Notes to Members

Presidents Page

F. Y. I.

Association News

An Affirmative Plan: Debate Tournament

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South Dakota

Of Lawsuits and Liberty

On October 10, the Rapid City School Board voted a blanket denial for all 119 home school students seeking a “certificate of excuse.” The nagging thought that they would get hauled into court for this arbitrary and heavy-handed action evidently weighed on the board members’ minds. The board promptly moved to reconsider, and all 119 students were then issued the certificate of excuse. Two days later, the Rapid City Journal quoted one of the board members as saying “he voted ’no’ to send a message but wasn’t willing to risk a lawsuit.”

He sent the wrong message. Government officials should obey the law simply because it is right. Nonetheless, since some officials do not respect the rights of citizens, it is a tremendous blessing to live in a society where justice can be obtained by means of a lawsuit, where it is necessary. As these events indicate, even the mere possibility of a lawsuit can sometimes prevent injustices from being done.

In response to the actions of the Rapid City School Board, the Rapid City Journal printed an editorial critical of home schooling. Responding to the Journal’s editorial, Legislative Director for South Dakota Christian Home Educators Gregory Koenig, with some supporting help from HSLDA, wrote an excellent rebuttal. The October 21 edition of the Journal carried Koenig’s rebuttal along with a letter to the editor supporting home schooling by HSLDA member Teresa Campbell of Hot Springs.

The Rapid City School Board gave themselves a needless black eye with their rash, senseless “shotgun” denial, and their immediate flip-flop. We hope they remember next time that their first priority is to be public servants. — Scott A. Woodruff

Rapid City Journal
South Dakota — Saturday, October 21, 2000

Government Schools Fear Success of Home-Schooling
By Teresa Campbell, who has home-schooled her six children for the past 15 years. Her three oldest children are attending college. She writes from Hot Springs.
. . . I have a counter proposal. Let’s form a board comprised of home and private school educators to oversee the government schools. We would require annual testing then renew or deny teacher contracts based on the students’ performance. Any students failing to achieve a predetermined percentage score would be removed from the public school and forced to be privately educated . . . .
More Control Not Needed
By Gregory M. Koenig, legislative director for South Dakota Christian Home Educators in Rapid City.
. . . There is the suggestion that there is not enough testing. The nationwide trend is away from testing home-schooled children. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia do not require any testing or evaluation of home-schooled students. In fact, Nevada recently abolished testing. In the spring of 1997 South Dakota went from testing every year to the four times currently required. This legislative change was initiated by the Sioux Falls School District.

Home education has been around long enough to prove itself to be a very effective and successful alternative . . . .