Round One: Victory for State In South Carolina Testing Suit
The State Board of Education of South Carolina has won the first round in HSLDA's challenge to the law requiring parents without a bachelor's degree to pass a teacher's examination before being allowed to teach their own children. HSLDA contends that the examination was improperly validated and the requirement is an unconstitutional infringement upon the right of parents to direct the education of their children.
A validity study done by IOX Associates of Los Angeles was the issue which consumed the majority of time during the trial. HSLDA contends that this study violated professional standards governing such studies.
A four-day trial, followed by a 57-page opening brief and a 16-page reply brief, produced a ruling by South Carolina Judge Ellis Drew which simply read: “I have received the excellent Post Trial Memorandum and each party's Reply Memorandum. I have thoroughly considered them and after deliberate consideration, have decided to issue an Order in favor of the South Carolina State Board of Education.” Mike Farris was lead counsel for the parents in the case. He was assisted by Michael Smith and local counsel Dee Black, then of Hilton Head. Dee has since joined HSLDA as a full-time staff attorney.
In all federal courts and in the vast majority of state courts, judges usually issue at least a brief opinion stating the reason for their ruling. Judge Drew gave no hint as to the rationale for his ruling. “It is very disappointing to put all of this effort into a case and not even receive a written explanation of the ruling,” Farris commented.
HSLDA will appeal this case to the South Carolina Supreme Court. Farris stated, “We have a good chance of winning this case because the violations of professional standards in this IOX study are so blatant. Hopefully the appellate court will closely consider our arguments.”
The IOX study failed to do a job analysis as required by professional standards, failed to finish the study prior to the vote by the South Carolina Board of Education, and threatened home school panelists in a way which changed their manner of answering the study.