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No. 4

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Scholarship Equity Bill a Mixed Bag

The South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship program has been off-limits to homeschoolers since the South Dakota Board of Regents adopted a restrictive set of regulations shortly after the original legislation was enacted.

But the governor’s signature in March 2010 on a scholarship equity bill, House Bill 1160, at last gives homeschooling families reason for hope. South Dakota Christian Home Educators was instrumental in obtaining passage of the bill, which takes effect in 2013.

The bill opens the door for homeschoolers by eliminating the requirement that high school students take specific courses and earn a specific grade point average. On the other hand, the legislation requires a higher and more specific ACT or SAT score for homeschool students.

A public school student can satisfy the requirements with an ACT score of 24 or an SAT score of 1090 (verbal-mathematics). A homeschooler, however, must earn an ACT score of 28 combined with the following subtest scores: English, 18; reading, 21; math, 22; and science, 24. Alternatively, a homeschooler must earn an SAT score of 1250, with “markers in reading, writing, mathematics and science” high enough to show that remediation is not necessary. Since the SAT does not contain a science section, the requirement that a student earn an SAT score that shows they do not need remediation in science is, shall we say, perplexing.

Shortly after signing HB 1160, Governor Michael Rounds issued a statement of support for homeschoolers: “I’m pleased that homeschoolers will now have access to the Opportunity Scholarships.”

— by Scott A. Woodruff