HSLDA Media Release
March 1, 2001

Mean-spirited bill aimed at South Dakota home schoolers convincingly defeated

For immediate release
March 1, 2001
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or media@hslda.org

PIERRE, SD-A bill that would have been a "huge step backward" for home schoolers was defeated in the South Dakota Senate Education Committee this week. The bill had already passed the House.

H.B 1181 was characterized by some home schoolers as "vindictive." It would have changed the home school law in South Dakota to require a 30-day waiting period to begin home schooling.

Such waiting periods are unfair to parents and students who choose mid-year to home school. Only one other state, Maine, has a waiting period as long as 30 days, explained Scott Woodruff, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association.

"There was no verifiable need for this legislation," said Woodruff. "This bill was backed only by the slenderest of anecdotal evidence, and the Senate Education Committee understood that.

"H.B. 1181's blunderbuss approach would have been a tremendously unfair burden to South Dakota's home schoolers," Woodruff said. "The kind of regulation proposed in H.B. 1181 has never improved academic achievement."

However, there may have been a funding motive. School districts are allotted state money on the basis of attendance in public schools.

The bill's sponsors claimed its purpose was to prevent parents from removing their children from public school in anger after school discipline. These parents, it was said, often return their children to the public system, but further behind academically than when they left.

South Dakota law now says that if a student has been suspended or expelled in one public school district, the student may not enroll in a different school district until the suspension or expulsion has expired.

"A child who has been suspended or expelled is clearly not thriving in the government school system. If a family wishes to remove a child from public school, it makes no sense to put up roadblocks simply because the child has been suspended or expelled from that system," Woodruff said.

"Home schoolers generally score much higher on standardized tests than their public school counter parts. (See Home Schooling Works!.) The South Dakota Senate Education Committee correctly realized that they have more pressing education issues than regulating home schoolers."

 Other Resources

More information on South Dakota's House Bill 1181