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2/12/2003 10:36:35 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Homeschool Involvement With Statewide Testing Must Be Ended

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 12, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

The South Dakota Legislature is working on two bills that would
affect homeschoolers. One, Senate Bill 39, would end homeschool
involvement with the "statewide testing program" that has defined our
testing requirements for many years. The other, House Bill 1068,
would allow homeschoolers and other students in unaccredited private
schools to participate in sports and other interscholastic
activities. Because both of these bills are being considered by the
same legislators, leaders of the South Dakota homeschool community
have requested all South Dakota homeschoolers to coordinate their
efforts for maximum effect. In an effort to build a stronger
statewide homeschool movement, HSLDA has agreed to drop our request
for changes to SB 39 at this time.

ACTION REQUESTED

If your representative is one of the names below, please contact him
or her with the following message: "Thank you for your efforts to
help homeschoolers. We are willing to tolerate second grade testing
for homeschoolers this year, but would like to see this addressed
next year." You can determine who your representative is by using
HSLDA's legislative toolbox at: www.hslda.org/toolbox.

List of ten "friendly" House Education Committee members:

Tim Begalka, District 4, (605) 773-3851, begalka@itctel.com

Mike Buckingham, District 33, (605) 224-0411

Joel D Dykstra District 16, (605) 773-3851, jdd@sdapv.com

Jeffrey K Haverly, District 35, (605) 223-9045,
rep.haverly@state.sd.us

Phyllis M Heineman, District 13, (605) 224-6877,
rep.heineman@state.sd.us

Kent Juhnke, District 26, (605) 683-6722, ksjuhnke@gwtc.net

Matt McCaulley, District 10, (605) 224-0411, matt@sdrepublican.com

Alice McCoy, District 35, (605) 716-6814, rep.mccoy@state.sd.us

Donna Schafer, District 17, dschafer@mchsi.com

Thomas J Van Norman, District 28A, (605) 964-6686

BACKGROUND

South Dakota has required testing for homeschoolers in grades two,
four, eight, and eleven for the last several years. New changes to
the statewide testing program end second grade testing for public
school students, but add four more years of testing across the board.
Senate Bill 39 separates homeschool testing requirements from those
of the public school, which is a major step forward. HSLDA strongly
believes that second grade testing is unnecessary and burdensome, and
no public school officials have yet argued that second grade testing
provides important information. In light of this, we believe that
second grade testing should eventually be eliminated.

Homeschool leaders agree that second grade testing is generally a
waste of time, but many homeschool activists are working very hard to
get House Bill 1068 through the legislature this year. House Bill
1068 would make it possible for homeschooled students and other
students in unaccredited schools to participate in sports and other
activities. While HSLDA supports the rights of parents to direct the
education of their own children, including the opportunity to
participate in interscholastic programs, we have never been willing
to sacrifice freedom of individual families for the right to
participate in government programs. For this reason, we would not
advise families to abandon the effort to eliminate unnecessary tests
in order to trade them for government benefits. Our reason for
dropping our request for amendments to Senate Bill 39 this year is
solely to build a stronger homeschool movement in South Dakota which
will be able to work together for the benefit of all in years to
come.

We urge all HSLDA members to join and support their local support
groups and statewide organizations. By working together today, we can
achieve more liberty tomorrow. We look forward to working with all
South Dakota homeschoolers for years to come.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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