South Dakota’s archaic homeschool law is about to move into the 21st century if a bill filed today is enacted. Here are the main features.
Senate Bill 177 Removes Mandatory Testing
Requiring homeschool children to be tested seemed like a good idea when no one knew anything about homeschooling. But now that extensive research is available, we know that it is not necessary.
Between 1995 and 2017, five states reduced or abolished mandatory testing. No state has ever added testing to its homeschool laws, and now the South Dakota Department of Education has said on the record that it wanted to do away with testing.
The Bill Removes Annual Filing
In 11 states, including neighboring Illinois and Missouri, homeschool families never need to file paperwork of any type. In 10 additional states, families only file paperwork once.
In 2013 nearby Iowa joined in and allowed homeschooling with no paperwork. The result? Less hassle, less busywork, less administrative confusion. With an eight-year track record, paperless homeschooling in Iowa has proven its merit.
Under the bill South Dakota families file once when the child’s homeschool program begins. After that, they file only if there is a change in their address, etc. Simple!
The Bill Removes the Birth Certificate Mandate
Created when no one knew anything about homeschooling, only a tiny handful of states put birth certificate mandates on their books. Homeschooling has gone mainstream. It’s time to do away with this archaic requirement.
The Bill Creates Fair Access to Public School Sports and Activities
The number of states giving homeschool kids fair access to public school sports and activities has been growing. Now it’s up to 25.
Team sports can build bridges where there was division. Homeschool and public school kids shop in the same stores, go to the same churches, live on the same streets. Why shouldn’t they play on the same teams and strengthen the community?
Access to sports has such a great track record that no state has ever taken it away. And of course, it will widen the pipeline of aspiring young athletes available for higher level sports opportunities in college and elsewhere.
The Bill Moves South Dakota Up a Notch
HSLDA categorizes all states according to the paperwork burden they impose on homeschool families. South Dakota is currently in the next-to-worst category because of filing and testing mandates.
With the enactment of the bill, the state will move to the next-to-best category. Many families have a choice of where to live. With the state moving into a more desirable category, it will be more attractive to relocating families.
Action Very Soon
We expect action on the bill very soon. To help you stay fully informed and know when you can help, please sign up for bulletins from HSLDA. You do not need to be a member to sign up.
We are working closely with the two state homeschool organizations, Families for Alternative Instruction Rights in South Dakota and South Dakota Christian Home Educators. Please consider visiting their Facebook pages regularly and signing up for their bulletins as part of your plan to stay on top of the bill’s progress.
I wrote a letter to Senator Blake Curd asking him to support the bill. You can read the letter here.
HSLDA stands with South Dakota families in their pursuit of cutting paperwork and advancing freedom.