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South Dakota

August 5, 2008
State Retreats from Race Demand

Homeschoolers were recently troubled to find that the South Dakota Department of Education (SDDE) had altered the Alternative Instruction form (“Application for Public School Exemption Certificate”) to require that parents specify the race or ethnicity of the children they will be homeschooling.

Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Scott Woodruff called Carol Uecker of the SDDE to try to rectify the problem. Woodruff explained to her that state law does not require that families disclose the race of their homeschooled children. She agreed and acknowledged there was a problem. She said they would instruct school districts to accept the forms even if families left the race question blank.

Woodruff said this was not enough—that since families were required to use this form, it is imperative that it be accurate. Woodruff told Uecker that at a minimum, the form should clearly indicate that the race question is optional.

Uecker agreed. Within a few days, the online form was modified to make it clear that the race question was optional.

HSLDA recommends that families leave the race question blank. There is simply no legitimate reason for the SDDE to know the race of homeschooled children.