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1/21/2005 7:18:40 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
New Mexico--Calls Needed to Stop a Bill that Requires Homeschoolers to Take the State Assessment!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 21, 2005

Calls Needed to Stop a Bill that Requires Homeschoolers to Take the
State Assessment!

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Representative Mary Helen Garcia has introduced a bill in the New
Mexico House of Representatives that would require homeschoolers to
participate in the state's academic assessment program every year.
The bill also requires homeschoolers to take the standards-based
academic performance tests that are required of public school
students. Any student that does not "demonstrate adequate yearly
progress" could be forced to attend public or private school!
New Mexico recently eliminated the requirement that homeschoolers take
standardized tests. Representative Garcia is trying to turn the clock
back on homeschool freedom.

HB 158 also directly violates federal law. The law, 20 USC sec.7886(b)
says, "No student schooled at home shall be required to participate in
any assessment referenced in the No Child Left Behind Act." New
Mexico's statewide assessment program is an assessment program that is
referenced in the No Child Left Behind Act. Whether Representative
Garcia knows it or not, her bill breaks federal law and consequently
New Mexico could lose its federal education funding.

Action Requested:

1. Please call the sponsor, Representative Garcia, and tell her,
"House Bill 158 reverses recent New Mexico legislation and violates
the No Child Left Behind Act. Please withdraw this bill!"
Representative Garcia's number is (505) 526-6608.

2. Pray that God would influence the hearts and minds of the
legislators to do what is right.

Background:

1. This bill would violate the prohibition for homeschoolers to take
state assessments in the No Child Left Behind Act. If this bill is
enacted in violation of federal law, the state of New Mexico could
lose its education funding.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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
New Mexico.

Sincerely,

Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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