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2/13/2003 5:04:43 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Montana--Victory in on Senate Bill 276

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 13, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Good News! Yesterday, the Montana Senate Education Committee voted 9-
1 to "postpone indefinitely" Senate Bill 276. This action effectively
kills the bill.

I testified before the Committee at the hearing on Monday, pointing
out that there were three reasons why we opposed this bill. First, it
would result in a violation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act
of 2001, placing Montana in jeopardy of losing all federal funding
for education. Last year, Home School Legal Defense Association
successfully lobbied Congress to add a provision that prohibited
states from mandating that state assessments for homeschoolers.
Second, this legislation was unconstitutional because it is
fundamentally unfair for the state to test students on course content
they have not been taught. S.B. 276 would have effectively eliminated
the right of parents in Montana to direct the education of their
children by requiring them to teach the public school curriculum.
Third, after 20 years of homeschooling under Montana's current law,
there was no reason to begin to impose state testing on homeschool
students.

This victory would not have been possible without the support of many
Montana homeschooling families, many of whom attended the Committee
meeting. The hearing room was packed to overflowing with almost 500
homeschoolers and representatives of nonpublic schools. Only one
person, the bill's sponsor, spoke in favor of the bill, whereas over
50 people testified against it. We also thank all of you who called
and wrote their senators opposing the bill. Each Committee member
received an average of 300 letters in opposition to this bill.

For more background information on this legislation visit our website
at:
http://www.hslda.org/Legislation/State/mt/2003/MTSB276/default.asp

Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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