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2/10/2006 10:41:32 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Proposal Turns Homeschoolers into Public School Students

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 10, 2006

Dear HSLDA members and friends,

Calls are needed immediately to defeat House Bill 1160. This bill
hurts taxpayers and turns homeschoolers into public school students.

The bill initially had significant support. However, some South
Dakota Representatives are beginning to realize this bill would be an
expensive fiscal burden for taxpayers.

H.B. 1160 is the funding portion of a two-bill plan. The full plan
creates a program in which students receive most of their public
instruction on-line while they are at home, but the local public
school is in full control. The goal of the legislation is to create a
public-school-at-home program.

Parent-directed home education cost taxpayers nothing, which helps
keep taxes lower for everyone. This bill, however, would force
taxpayers to pay for every homeschool student who joins the public
school-at-home program.

The plan would create a program that resembles homeschooling, but the
public school would be in control of the child's education, parental
rights would be marginalized, and the homeschool student would become
a public school student.

Action Requested:

Please call you state representative immediately. Your message can be
as simple as: "Please vote no on H.B. 1160. It's an example of
government overspending. It forces the taxpayer to overpay for an
inexpensive home-based education."

To find contact information for your representative, use our
legislative toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/toolbox .

Background:

1. The other bill that is part of the package to create this plan is
H.B. 1236. We have already explained why this bill should be opposed.
If someone tells you H.B. 1160 has nothing to do with virtual schools,
explain to them that this bill will fund the virtual schools created
under H.B. 1236. H.B. 1160 has a superficial appearance of
reasonableness because it calls for funding in proportion to the
number of classes a student signs up for. However, the
proportionality is based on the full per-pupil cost of a student at a
brick-and-mortar school, not the far lower cost of educating a student
whose "school" is in the home.

2. HSLDA recently surveyed six full-service on-line high school
programs which included books, computer programs, a full course load,
test grading and transcript service, and full access to teachers. The
average cost was about $2,000. H.B. 1160 would fund the plan at more
than twice that level.

3. In other states where public-school-at-home programs have been
created, the schools have heavily or exclusively recruited among
homeschool families to fill their program. Therefore, private
homeschooling, which was previously free to the taxpayer, becomes
expensive taxpayer funded public school in the home.

4. In Alaska, parent-directed home education has nearly ceased to
exist because of public-school-at-home programs. In fact,
approximately 80% of homeschoolers are now government homeschoolers.
The main homeschool conventions are government run and the largest
homeschool newsletter is government produced. Of course, the speakers
and newsletter are not allowed to mention God or Christianity.

5. Public-school-at-home programs initially lure homeschool families
by the promise of certain "freebies" such as free curriculum and
laptop computers. Also, your children will no longer be considered
private homeschool students, but rather public school students. This
means you waive certain parental rights and agree to homeschool
according to the public school's rules. In other states with similar
"virtual" charter school programs, HSLDA has observed that more and
more regulations are gradually placed on the homeschooler each year.

Please read the articles on virtual charter schools on our web site
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/Issues/C/CharterSchools.asp .

Thank you for standing with us for freedom.

Sincerely,


Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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