Thursday, 10 March 2011

South Dakota Law Benefits Home School Families

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A new law to which Governor Dennis Daugaard (picture, left) attached his signature on March 7 gives families in South Dakota the freedom to home school their children without undue intrusion from their local school districts.

The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, will allow parents to begin home schooling their children immediately by filing the appropriate paperwork with the proper authorities, eliminating the prior requirement that they receive official approval from school boards — which were sometimes uncooperative and occasionally antagonistic to the needs of home school families.

According to the national Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), while school boards did not have the legal authority to unduly withhold approval, some nonetheless made it difficult on home school parents, with at least two boards delaying or even denying approval during the present school year — a fact that prompted the updated law removing the requirement.

The HSLDA noted that the old requirement “also created hardship for military and civilian home school families moving into the state during the school year. They either had to abruptly halt their home school program and temporarily enroll their children in public school until the school board should act, or allow the children to continue as usual in their home school program, but risk prosecution.”

As reported in in early January, a study from the National Home Education Research Institute (NHERI) found that currently over two million children are being home schooled in the United States. “The author of the study, NHERI’s president Dr. Brian D. Ray, analyzed data from both state and federal education agencies as well as private home-school groups, concluding that there are as many as 2.346 million home-schooled students across the nation,” reported the article, adding that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, “in 2010 there were about 54 million children between the ages of five and 17 in the U.S., meaning that nearly four percent of school-aged kids — or one in 25 — are being home schooled.”

“Today, home schoolers can be found in all walks of life,” noted the NHERI, “and with … a proven record of academic as well as social success, home schooling is rapidly becoming a mainstream education alternative.”

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