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Date:
From:
Subject:

4/7/2003 4:33:20 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana-Mandatory Testing Bill Must be Defeated

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Senate Bill 465 would require testing for "approved" private schools,
in direct violation of a federal law designed to protect private
schools and homeschools. While this bill does not directly affect
homeschoolers, it must be stopped. We need your help to defeat S.B.
465.

ACTION REQUESTED

Please contact the members of the Senate Education Committee and urge
them to vote "No" on state testing for every private school. Tell
them, "Senate Bill 465 is a clear attempt to take over private
education, and it violates federal law. It must be defeated."

Senate Education Committee members:

Senator Gerald J. Theunissen (Chairman) (225) 342-2040
theunisg@legis.state.la.us
Senator Willie L. Mount (Vice-Chairman) (225) 342-2040
lasen27@legis.state.la.us
Senator Jay Dardenne (225) 342-2040
dardennej@legis.state.la.us
Senator Melvin "Kip" Holden (225) 342-2040
lasen15@legis.state.la.us
Senator Fred Hoyt (225) 342-2040
hoytf@legis.state.la.us
Senator Paulette R. Irons (225) 342-2040
ironsp@legis.state.la.us
Senator Bill Jones (225) 342-2040
websen@legis.state.la.us

BACKGROUND

The United States Congress is trying to make every public school that
receives federal funds prove that it is getting results. To do this,
the No Child Left Behind Act requires every state to adopt "high
stakes testing" to ensure that children are actually learning what
they are taught. This means that states must carefully define
"content standards" that spell out the actual curriculum of the
public schools, and then define "performance standards" to see
whether the children are learning that material. While the federal
government does not specify the content and performance standards for
states, the overall effect of this new federal law is to impose a
great deal of "top down" control on federally funded education.

Homeschoolers recognize that public schools need reform, but were
careful to remind Congress that homeschools and private schools are
doing very well. There is no need for top down "content and
performance standards" to fix the already successful homeschool
movement. Congress expressly protected homeschoolers from these new
content and performance standards by adopting 20 USC 7886(b), which
prohibits states from forcing homeschoolers to take the new tests
referenced in the No Child Left Behind Act.

In state after state, this federal protection has proved invaluable
to homeschoolers. Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, and South Dakota
have all tried to impose "high stakes testing" on homeschoolers, but
have been blocked by 20 USC 7886 each time. When homeschoolers call
their legislators to tell them that a new bill violates federal law,
they get results. Louisiana Senate Bill 465 violates federal law,
just like the other states. It is now time for Louisiana
homeschoolers to make the contacts necessary to keep it from being
enacted in Louisiana.

Louisiana defines "private schools" in R.S. sec. 17:236, with a
separate definition of "approved" private schools in R.S. sec. 17:11.
SB 465 only amends the definition of "approved" private schools, and
so should not affect homeschoolers who operate as "private schools"
pursuant to R.S. s 17:236. Even though there is no direct effect on
homeschoolers, however, the bill is a threat because it violates the
federal law that was written to protect homeschoolers. If the
"approved" private schools can be taken over today, in violation of
federal law, then the unapproved private schools and homeschools can
be taken over tomorrow.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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