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Last spring, South Dakota Education Secretary Rick Melmer approved a set of rules the South Dakota Board of Regents had drafted that prevented homeschooled students from receiving the state Opportunity Scholarship program. HSLDA, state homeschool organizations, and homeschool parents all across the state vigorously object to these new rules.
HSLDA and South Dakota Christian Home Educators (SDCHE) immediately began discussing plans to overturn the unfair rules through a new law that would give homeschool families an opportunity to earn the scholarship.
We contacted the governor's office this fall and found he was receptive to supporting a legislative solution. This week there was a very fruitful meeting between Carroll Torberson of SDCHE and representatives of the Secretary of Education and the Board of Regents. We are cautiously optimistic that as discussions proceed they will agree to support a reasonable bill that opens the scholarship to bright homeschool students.
Fewer than twenty-five percent of students who take the ACT score 24 or higher as required for scholarship applicants. The state of South Dakota should do all it can to encourage these bright young people to attend South Dakota institutions of higher education. Removing unfair barriers for homeschool families would be a welcome step.