South Dakota
South Dakota

January 12, 2016

Sioux Falls Pulls In Its Horns on Spurious Test Deadline


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The Sioux Falls School District sent a letter to homeschool families telling them that if their child was in grades 2, 4, 8 or 11 they must submit standardized test scores by August 1 or the district would list the family as noncompliant and ask the South Dakota Department of Education to investigate them. To back up this threat, the district representative cited the “State Alternative Instruction Guidelines.”

YOUR ATTORNEY Scott Woodruff

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff wrote the district representative and explained that South Dakota law stipulates no particular due date for testing results (other than the deadline for when each year’s excuse paperwork needs to be filed), and asked her where he could find the “State Alternative Instruction Guidelines” cited in the letter. He asked her to change the district’s form letter to align with state law.

The district representative responded to Woodruff and said they were reviewing the situation and would take Woodruff’s comments into account when revising their letter.

When the form letter was next sent out, the August 1 test submission deadline was gone. So was the threat to report “noncompliant” students to the state. We appreciate the district making these changes.

However, the district representative never told Woodruff where to find the “State Alternative Instruction Guidelines.” This is not surprising, since they do not exist.