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2/5/2003 5:48:18 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--S.B. 39 Passes Senate; Calls Now Needed to House

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 5, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

On Monday, January 27, 2003, the South Dakota Senate passed Senate
Bill 39, which would end homeschool participation in the "statewide
testing program," and replace it with testing in grades two, four,
eight, and eleven. The bill has now been assigned to the House
Committee on Education. We encourage homeschoolers to contact the
friendly members of this committee to amend Senate Bill 39 to remove
second grade testing.

ACTION REQUESTED

If your representative is one of the names listed below, please call
him or her and say, "Please amend Senate Bill 39 to remove second
grade testing for homeschoolers. Second grade testing is unnecessary
and expensive. The Department of Education does not believe it is
necessary, and neither do homeschoolers." You can determine who your
representative is by using HSLDA's legislative toolbox at:
www.hslda.org/toolbox

Ten "Friendly" House Education Committee Members:

Tim Begalka District 4
Ph. 605-773-3851, begalka@itctel.com
Mike Buckingham District 33
Ph. 605-224-0411
Joel D Dykstra District 16
Ph. 605-773-3851, jdd@sdapv.com
Jeffrey K Haverly District 35
Ph. 605-223-9045, rep.haverly@state.sd.us
Phyllis M Heineman District 13
Ph. 605-224-6877, rep.heineman@state.sd.us
Kent Juhnke District 26
Ph. 605-683-6722, ksjuhnke@gwtc.net
Matt McCaulley District 10
Ph. 605-224-0411, matt@sdrepublican.com
Alice McCoy District 35
Ph. 605-716-6814, rep.mccoy@state.sd.us
Donna Schafer District 17
dschafer@mchsi.com
Thomas J Van Norman District 28A
Ph. 605-964-6686

BACKGROUND

South Dakota homeschoolers have been tied into a "statewide testing
program" that has been in place for years. Periodically, the state
changes its testing procedures for public schools, causing
unnecessary distress for homeschool families. The Senate has already
voted to end homeschool participation in the statewide testing
program by amending Senate Bill 39 to separate students in
alternative instruction (which includes homeschoolers) from children
in the public schools.

While this was a big change for the Senate, they were unwilling to
reconsider the years in which homeschoolers must be tested. The
Senate left homeschoolers subject to testing in second, fourth,
eight, and eleventh grade, the same grades public school students are
currently tested in.

The Department of Education has never claimed that second grade
testing is necessary for homeschoolers. Second grade testing provides
very little information about a child's educational program. It was
not required in South Dakota before 1997, and then only became a
requirement for homeschoolers because the statewide testing program
(for public school students) was changed.

To the best of our knowledge, the only people who want second grade
testing for homeschoolers are people who would vote for any and all
restrictions on home education (including the outright prohibition of
education at home). Those educators who recognize homeschooling as a
valid option do not suggest that testing in second grade is an
important requirement.

Eliminating second grade testing in this legislative season would be
a small but meaningful victory for homeschoolers. We urge HSLDA
members and friends to contact their own legislators to ask them to
remove this requirement.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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