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5/6/2009 5:12:07 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Rapid City Creates Confusion Over Computer Literacy Test

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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South Dakota--Rapid City Creates
Confusion Over Computer Literacy Test

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Anxious families have been calling HSLDA for help in facing what
appears to be a new testing mandate.

Rapid City Schools Office of Alternative Education recently sent a
letter to homeschool families announcing that:

"8th grade students will be taking the South Dakota State 8th Grade
Technology Assessment (SDTLA)...as required by program guidance under
No Child Left Behind. States are to be sure that all 8th [grade]
students are technologically literate by the end of the eighth grade."

This sounds like a mandate, especially considering the context: a
letter to homeschool families from the office that deals with
homeschool families. Furthermore, some families were told in personal
conversations with school officials that homeschoolers needed to take
the test.

To set the record straight, homeschooled students are not required to
take the SDTLA. Any statements to the contrary are misinformation.

At the end of the letter, the author states that a parent should call
him "should you desire" their student to take the test. While this
statement makes the testing sound optional, it does not counteract the
mandatory language of the first paragraph. It only creates confusion.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Scott Woodruff contacted the Director of the
Office of Alternative Education asking him to send out a follow-up
letter explaining unequivocally that the SDTLA is not mandatory for
homeschool families. The director apologized for the confusion.

HSLDA recommends that you not have your student take the SDTLA. Your
wishes as to how your student's test results are used might not be
honored.

In 2000, HSLDA was successful in inserting language into federal law
protecting homeschoolers from the tests that are mandated under No
Child Left Behind. However, if homeschoolers now voluntarily submit to
the tests, including the SDTLA, it could provide ammunition for those
who might want to make the test mandatory for homeschoolers.

By staying away from tests that are mandatory for public school
students, you help protect homeschool freedom.


Sincerely Yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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