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3/13/2003 3:21:43 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Oklahoma--Urgent Calls Needed on New Testing Bill

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

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Sloppy language the Oklahoma Senate Education Committee added to
Senate Bill 311 has changed a harmless bill into one that now
threatens homeschoolers.

The bill, as amended, allows for a "request" that a criterion-
referenced test of the Oklahoma State Testing Program be administered
to a homeschooler. The bill does not clearly specify, however, who
can make the request. A misguided judge could rule that it allows a
public school official to make the request.

The bill empowers the State Board of Education, for the first time,
to adopt rules affecting homeschoolers. This is a step in the wrong
direction. It may lead the Board to believe that it should be
allowed to adopt rules that affect other aspects of home education.

The Senate could vote on SB 311 today. If it is not voted on today,
it will probably cease to be a threat. Your action this afternoon
could send this bill to defeat.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call your state senator. Your message may be as simple as,

"Please keep home education free. Please vote against SB 311 unless
the education committee amendments are removed. It is a step toward
giving the State Board of Education power to adopt regulations over
homeschool families."

You may identify your senator and find contact information by going
to www.hslda.org/toolbox and entering your zip code. Call the Senate
switchboard at 405-524-0126 to leave a message for your senator.

BACKGROUND

As originally filed, SB 311 did not refer to homeschooling. The
Senate Education Committee amended it, however, so that now it gives
the State Board of Education power to " . . . adopt rules for the
administration of the criterion-referenced tests upon request at
private schools and for students educated by means other than the
public or private schools . . ."

The bill does not clearly limit who can make this "request." Prior to
the committee's amendment, SB 311 stated clearly that a PRIVATE
SCHOOL must make a request before it could be administered to their
students.

The criterion-referenced test is part of the Oklahoma School Testing
Program. It is scored based on the student's knowledge of material
covered in the public school curriculum. The questions on the test
are under the control of the State Board of Education, part of the
government education bureaucracy.

Homeschoolers do not follow the public school curriculum. They are
free to teach a curriculum best suited to each individual child.
Homeschoolers have neither the need nor the desire to submit their
children to a test that covers the content taught in public schools.

Thank you for standing with us to keep homeschooling free!

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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