I shared this letter with Diana and she felt it might be of interest..I was able to use a list from HSLDA that provided te names of all the Education Committee participants and sent this to all 17 online. May it be of use as you write your own perspective. If anyone needs the direct link to the HSLDA page, just let me know.
I am writing to encourage you to oppose House Bill 3478. We have homeschooled our children throughout their educational careers. Our son will graduate this year and plans to attend a local college while working and pursuing additional career-specific training. Our daughter will enter eleventh grade next year and will take advantage of dual enrollment courses.
We do not oppose testing; in fact it can be beneficial. We have utilized it in our schooling. We, like most homeschool
families, are serious about education. However, this bill requires children to take tests designed in accordance with public school curriculum. One of the complaints I often hear from public school teachers is the necessity of ‘teaching for the test.’
We, as home educators, believe education is much more than ‘spitting back answers’ for a test. Testing is simply a tool and should not be a driving force of education. While public schools may have no other method for gauging progress, homeschool is far more personal and capable of evaluations beyond a test. Also, many families, like our own, utilize Christian world-view programs that do not espouse the ideas of public school programs (e.g. historical perspectives,
evolutionary concepts). Home educators also often alter course sequences to accommodate siblings. Public testing is based on a system not employed by home educators and is highly unfair because of that.
We previously lived, and taught, under the laws of New York State. Prior to moving here our students were tested annually with a norm-referenced national standardized test administered by me in a structured setting (timed with no assistance). We chose Option Three here in South Carolina as it most closely aligned with the structure of NY. In fact, South Carolina is nearly as rigorous as NY in regulations on home education. I personally do not feel there is a tremendous need for change. In fact, I believe Option III is the best structure for quality home education. It requires the most intensive involvement of parents in their children’s education. It allows for flexibility in course selection, increases the responsibility of parents and overall improves the home education experience. I will be very disappointed if we have to alter our education plans in the final year of our daughter’s academic career. I will also be very sad for parents who will not have the option we have utilized. Education is a right and responsibility of parents.
I am sorry this letter is so long. I am a passionate home educator. I believe this bill is wrong on many levels. I am a better parent because of the effort I have had to invest in home education. Our family is stronger…and our community benefits from those strengths. Home education is a benefit to families and communities. Please do not hinder it through passing this law.
Billie Jo Youmans