H.B. 2440 would revive testing
The Arizona legislature exempted home schoolers from standardized testing requirements in 1995, but 16 legislators have introduced a measure (House Bill 2440) that would once again force home schoolers to begin testing.
This bill would be a big step backwards for home schoolers-and for Arizona. One state after another has dropped or reduced home school testing requirements. Oregon eliminated annual testing after the legislators discovered how few families ever lost the right to home school because of test scores. In one year, only two Oregon students had to quit home schooling after failing the test, yet every home school family had to test every child every year. Home school testing in Oregon cost over half a million dollars each year; thus, it cost $250,000 in testing to terminate one home school program.
It would be bad enough for home schooled students to be forced back into standardized testing, but Arizona, like many other states, is rapidly moving towards new state-mandated tests that are geared to the public school curriculum. H.B. 2440 is so worded that home schoolers would have to take the same tests as public school students do.
Home schoolers will not submit to tests designed around someone else's curriculum, nor do they have to: the new federal No Child Left Behind Act specifically prohibits states from forcing home schoolers to take such tests. We hope that Arizona's legislators will be wise enough to avoid a head-on collision with federal law.
- Scott W. Somerville