Aberdeen American News, Aberdeen, South Dakota, 11 January 2007, Family loses home-schooling certification
Anyone, anywhere at anytime can alert the state office that schooling in a particular home might not meet state requirements, Harms said, and that’s how the state learned of the Aberdeen case.
The description of the ‘finding out’ process is chilling to me: “a particular home might not meet state requirements.” It almost sounds like the People’s Republic of South Dakota, and I say that as a K – 6 alumna of Vandenberg Elementary. Is there other ‘probable cause’ for investigating or is the word of “anyone, anywhere at anytime” sufficient?
So what are the relevant requirements in South Dakota?
South Dakota legislature, Chapter 13-27, Compulsory School Attendance (emphasis added for reading ease)
13-27-1 Every person having control of a child who is six years old by the first day of September and who has not exceeded the age of sixteen, shall cause the child to regularly and annually attend some public or nonpublic school for the entire term … until the child reaches the age of sixteen years, unless excused as provided in this chapter.
13-27-3 … A child shall be excused from school attendance, pursuant to 13-27-2, because the child is otherwise provided with alternative instruction for an equivalent period of time, as in the public schools, in the basic skills of language arts and mathematics. … The secretary of the Department of Education may investigate and determine whether the instruction is being provided. Failure to provide instruction is grounds for the school board, upon thirty days’ notice, to revoke the excuse from school attendance. The secretary of the Department of Education may inspect the records of an alternative education program with fourteen days’ written notice if the secretary has probable cause to believe the program is not in compliance with this section. The records to be inspected are limited to attendance and evidence showing academic progress.
The outcome of the investigation is still up in the air as the parents have thirty days to appeal the decision. For the sake of the child, I hope it is merely a case of i-dotting and t-crossing. Part of the articles makes me optimistic that poor record keeping (combined with unschooling?) might be at fault.
I wonder what prompted the informer to inform.
The family teaching the child at home could provide no evidence that the student was receiving adequate, appropriate instruction, said Gary Harms, superintendent of Aberdeen public schools.
posted by Valerie