Statement Opposing Arkansas’ House Bill 1381
For Immediate Release: Arkansas’ Homeschool Testing Requirement Benefits Homeschooled Children
Canton, Ma., 3/6/15—With House Bill 1381, Arkansas stands poised to remove its testing requirement for homeschooled students. “Arkansas’ state-mandated testing benefits homeschooled students by giving their parents an objective standard and helpful feedback,” stated Rachel Coleman, Executive Director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. “Removing this testing does Arkansas’ homeschooled students a disservice.”
Arkansas’ homeschool law has no subject requirements and does not require homeschooling parents to provide their children with instruction. Currently, the state’s only requirement is that homeschooled students be tested each year via a nationally recognized norm-referenced achievement test. “This assessment gives parents feedback on their students’ progress, enabling them to homeschool more effectively,” Coleman said. The required testing is organized by the Home School Testing Office and paid for by the Department of Education, thus ensuring that cost is not an issue for families.
In Murphy v. Arkansas (1988), the Eighth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals found that “the state has a compelling interest in ensuring that all its citizens are being adequately educated.” “If the legislature eliminates testing for Arkansas’ homeschooled students, they will have failed in their responsibility to ensure that all Arkansas students—including homeschooled students—are adequately educated,” said Coleman.
The Coalition for Responsible Home Education is a national organization founded by homeschool alumni and dedicated to raising awareness of the need for homeschooling reform, providing public policy guidance, and advocating for responsible home education practices.