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10/19/2010 3:39:15 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Children's Racial Information Turns "Mandatory"

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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South Dakota--Children's Racial Information Turns "Mandatory"

Dear HSLDA Members:

Although it was previously listed as "optional", this year's required
alternative instruction Application for Exemption says parents "must"
provide ethnic and racial information about their children.

Today I spoke with a representative of the South Dakota Department of
Education. In explaining the change from optional to mandatory, she
referred me to a link on the Department's homeschool page, "Race and
Ethnicity Reporting."

This link says that "new standards issued by the US Department of
Education" require "schools across the nation" to "change how they
collect and report race and ethnicity for students."

With an extremely active government in Washington, D.C., the threat of
"new federal standards" must always be taken seriously. However HSLDA
works vigorously on Capitol Hill to protect families from all forms of
federal encroachment on their right to educate their children. As a
result, you can be assured that there simply are no "new federal
standards" that require racial information about homeschool students.

I explained this to the Department representative, but she was not
convinced. I asked her to identify what new regulations or statute
required homeschoolers to submit racial information. She could not
immediately answer, but said she would do some research and get back
to me by the end of the week.

While it would have been preferable if the Department had done
appropriate research before making new demands, her research this week
will confirm that there is no federal mandate for homeschool families
to report race or ethnicity. There has been no relevant change in
this area since the Department backed down in 2008 after HSLDA
insisted that racial information could not be demanded.

In the meantime, families should feel comfortable ignoring the
questions on the Application for Exemption that call for race and
ethnicity.

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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