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1/18/2005 3:48:38 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Calls Needed Now to Stop Bill Reducing Homeschool Freedom

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 18, 2005


South Dakota--Calls Needed Now to Stop Bill Reducing Homeschool
Freedom


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Calls are needed urgently to stop a bill that would end many
homeschool freedoms. Senate Bill 11 would take away the right of
homeschoolers to choose which nationally standardized test to use and
transfer this decision to the Department of Education. SB 11 would
also force homeschool students to take tests at a public school--or
allow a school employee to come into their home to watch the test. It
would also force school districts to forbid homeschooling if a child
has a single unsatisfactory test result. The bill is scheduled for a
hearing in the Senate Education Committee this Thursday, January 20,
at 7:45 AM. Please call now!


REQUESTED ACTION

1. Please call your Senator and ask him to oppose this bill if he is
on the Senate Education Committee. A list of committee members is
below. Use our legislative tool box at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox
if you do not know who your Senator is. Your message can be as simple
as:

"Please oppose SB 11. It unnecessarily infringes on the right of
parents to direct the education and upbringing of their own children,
it will increase the tax burden on South Dakota citizens, dramatically
increase administrative costs, and will not help children."

2. If your Senator is not on the committee, call the chairman of the
committee, Ed Olson, with the same message.

3. Attend the hearing to show your opposition. It will be in Room
423 in the State Capitol, 500 East Capitol Avenue, Pierre.

Contact Information:

You can leave a message for a member of the committee by calling
605-773-3821. Committee members:

Chairman Ed Olson
Vice Chairman Eric H. Bogue
Jay Duenwald
Clarence Kooistra
Al Kurtenbach
John J. Reedy
Paul N. Symens


REASONS TO OPPOSE SB 11

1. There are many nationally standardized achievement tests. There
is no rationale for giving the state the right to choose which test a
child must take.

2. South Dakota law currently gives a school district the option of
monitoring the administration of a standardized test. Schools can
monitor the test if they believe it is justified in a particular
situation. SB 11 takes a one-size-fits-all approach. It forces every
school district to monitor every required standardized test every
homeschooled child takes. This would unnecessarily increase
administrative expenses since there is no evidence that monitoring is
needed at all.

3. South Dakota law currently gives a school board the option of
refusing to renew a certificate of excuse if a test shows
unsatisfactory progress. It is good that school boards have
discretion so they can respond in a way that fits each individual
case. For example, if a child has been ill. However, after receiving
a low test score, SB 11 forbids a school district from relying on its
own good judgment to address the situation. SB 11 forces school
boards to refuse to renew the certificate of excuse under any
circumstances.

4. Fewer than half the states require homeschool students to take any
test whatsoever. Almost without exception, every state that has
changed its testing requirements for homeschoolers in the past ten
years has made the requirements less burdensome. The trend is away
from testing because state testing of homeschoolers is ineffective.

5. Homeschool students in states with high regulation have equal
scores with homeschool students in states with low regulation.
Increasing regulation does not help students. It just wastes parents'
time and taxpayers' money.

6. Homeschool students have already proved themselves. In every
major study of the academic accomplishment of homeschool students,
they perform as well or better than other students. There is no
reason for suddenly ratcheting up testing requirements for homeschool
students in South Dakota.

Thank you for standing with us for homeschool freedom in South Dakota.


Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney
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-> How many news articles did you read this morning over your
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