Over the past several years, homeschooling rates have grown by 94% in South Dakota. This drastic increase of home educating is due in large part to Governor Kristi Noem leading the way in 2021 to protect parental choice and loosen the regulatory burdens placed on families. It is also an indicator of the growing dissatisfaction parents have with certain public schools, and their poor proficiency rates.
Rather than applauding the parents who are devoting their time to providing one-on-one education for their children, public school officials are focused on something else: their decline in revenue. Fewer students enrolled in public school means less money from the state to pay the exorbitant salaries of superintendents and other school officials.
For example, Pierre’s school district lost 80 students in 2023, resulting in a significant loss of revenue for the school district. Their superintendent, Dr. Kelly Glodt, responded to this loss by voicing his concern that students were not getting a “quality education” at home. But perhaps it’s time to look at the education students are receiving in the public school system.
Only 50% of South Dakota public school students are proficient in reading. Just 43% are proficient in math. Scores continue to sharply decline year by year. Parents are not pulling their children out of school and choosing home education “for the wrong reasons” – the reason is that they want their children to be able to read, write, do basic math, and function in society as an educated individual, and under the public school system, that is no longer a guarantee.
Rather than take a long, hard look at their own proficiency problems and taking steps toward solving them, school officials are pointing fingers at homeschool parents as the problem, when in reality, they are a huge part of the solution.
The upcoming legislative session will surely entail attacks on homeschool families in South Dakota – but we are prepared to fight. The public school systems have said they want:
- To require that homeschool families file redundant paperwork to the local school each year
- To require that homeschool families take regular tests, the same tests that the Department of Education previously said were ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars
Requirements like these infringe on the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children without government interference – a principle currently upheld in South Dakota law that we have no intent of seeing dismantled.
In a country where Christian beliefs and conservative values are attacked at every turn, including in the school system, it’s no wonder some parents don’t trust the education system with their children’s developing minds.
We expect the legislation to be introduced soon. Will you stand with us as we fight to protect your right to homeschool in South Dakota?
Join us January 23 for our Day at the Capitol! Come for a chance to tour the Capitol, meet your legislators, and talk with them about bills like these!