Statement Opposing South Dakota’s House Bill 1013

For Immediate Release: Assessments Are Important for Homeschooled Children’s Well-Being

Canton, Ma., 2/1/2016—With House Bill 1013, South Dakota stands poised to remove its assessment requirement for homeschooled second graders. Currently, homeschooled students are assessed during grades two, four, eight, and eleven. “Assessments are critical to homeschooled children’s wellbeing,” said Rachel Coleman, executive director of the alumni-run Coalition for Responsible Home Education. “Removing the assessment requirement for homeschooled second graders risks decreasing the quality of these students’ early education.”

Homeschooled children benefit from assessments in a number of ways. Assessments can help reveal whether children need glasses or whether they have ADHD or autism, ensuring that parents are equipped and empowered to meet their children’s needs. Assessments also ensure that homeschooled children are being provided with educational activities and resources, providing parents with accountability. Many homeschool alumni contend that assessment requirements improve the quality of education homeschooled students receive by ensuring that their parents are motivated to provide them with a solid and well-rounded education. “Accountability is important in all walks of life,” noted Coleman.

The Coalition for Responsible Home Education recommends having homeschooled students assessed annually. “Assessments help ensure that homeschooling is provided in good faith,” said Coleman. “In some cases, abusive parents take advantage of homeschooling to isolate their children and hide their abuse.” There is some research to suggest that homeschooled children may be at greater risk of severe child abuse. In a 2014 study of child torture, University of Wisconsin pediatrician Barbara Knox found that nearly half of the cases she examined involved homeschooling. “Assessments offer a general check on homeschooled children’s wellbeing,” said Coleman.

This legislative season, South Dakota lawmakers will make a choice about the state’s assessment requirement for homeschooled second graders. Their decision will effect the state’s roughly 4,000 homeschooled children. “We need policies that center on the needs of homeschooled children,” said Coleman. “We can’t afford to gamble with these children’s well-being.”

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.

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