New Bill Seeks to Severely Restrict Homeschooling in South Carolina

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By Brandon Turbeville

According to an email alert sent out by the Home School Legal Defense Association, a new bill is being introduced in the South Carolina State House of Representatives that would threaten the ability of South Carolinians to effectively and legally homeschool their children as well as further reducing choice in terms of which homeschooling option is selected.

HSLDA states that House Bill 3478 (HB 3478) would

impose state testing on all homeschool students in both the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools (SCAIHS) and all homeschool associations. Additionally, results of the annual review of these organizations by the South Carolina Department of Education would have to be reported to the legislature. Further, these organizations would be required to provide the name of each student being homeschooled to their respective school districts, instead of providing just the number of students being homeschooled as is now required.

HLSDA continues by writing,

But this is not the worst part of this terrible bill. It would ELIMINATE membership in a homeschool association under Section 59-65-47 of the South Carolina Code as an option for homeschooling on July 1, 2014. No longer would South Carolina homeschoolers be able to exercise what is known as the “third option” for complying with the compulsory attendance law.

Unfortunately, while the HLSDA’s email alert may seem a bit too much to believe, a simple reading of the bill proves that all the claims made by the home schooling organization are, in fact, very true.

In regards to the first claim that the bill would impose state testing on all homeschooling organizations, Section 1 (6) erases all doubt as to the veracity of the claims made by the HLSDA.

The section reads,

students must participate in the annual statewide testing program and the Basic Skills Assessment Program approved by the State Board of Education for their appropriate grade level. The tests must be administered by a certified school district employee either with public school students or by special arrangement at the student’s place of instruction, at the parent’s option. The parent is responsible for paying the test administrator if the test is administered at the student’s home

Adding insult to injury, the bill also states that if the parents should opt to have the test administered at home, the parents are responsible for the cost of administration.

Obviously, by imposing state testing requirements upon homeschooled students, the ability to ensure that state-sponsored propaganda is still implanted into the minds of children is solidified. State tests, by definition, will contain state-based curriculum by which students will be measured, a policy that will necessitate the teaching of such curriculum by parents, whatever their preference, to at least some degree.

Likewise, in regards to the claim that homeschooled students’ names will be reported to their respective school districts, Section 2 (C) states clearly,

By January thirtieth of each year, the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools shall report the number name and grade level of children home schooled through the association to the children’s respective school districts to ensure compliance with the provisions of Section 59-65-10.

The most frightening claim made by the HLSDA, however, is that membership in a homeschool association would be eliminated with the passage of HB 3478. Yet, while the legislation does not state outright that homeschool associations themselves will be banned, the bill does state that associations with less than 50 members will no longer be considered acceptable as meeting the requirements of existing law.

The bill states in Section 3 (A),

In lieu of the requirements of Section 59-65-40 or Section59-65-45, parents or guardians may teach their children at home if the instruction is conducted under the auspices of an association for home schools which has no fewer than fifty members and meets the requirements of this section.

Because the only acceptable homeschooling associations are those with 50 or more students (effectively a private school), this clause concretely eliminates the traditional notion of homeschooling which takes place within the family home.

All in all, HB 3478 is not merely another step in the corralling of Americans into the prison-style indoctrination camps known as American public schools, it is the evisceration of homeschool rights in South Carolina. This, of course, is merely one more step in the total removal of parental rights altogether nationally and worldwide.

If you are in South Carolina, please contact your Representative immediately and express your objection to HB 3478. Even if you are not a resident of South Carolina, please call the individuals listed below and explain to them the moral and legal objections to the passage of this bill.

Please take special notice that Norman D. “Doug” Brannon (R-38) is the main culprit for this insult to parental rights as he is the Representative who proposed it to begin with. Interestingly enough, Brannon is also associated with the most notorious and unconstitutional common courts in the nation, Family Court, so his lack of understanding or concern for the welfare of children, families, and parental rights should come as no surprise.

With this in mind, his office deserves special attention and he can be contacted at: (803) 212-6876. He can be emailed at this address.  Remember, a person to person interaction is always more effective than email.

The members of the House Education and Public Works Committee and their contact information is as follows:
 
Phillip D. “Phil” Owens, Chairman (R-5)
(803) 734-3053
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1433948692
 
Bill Taylor, 1st Vice Chairman (R-86)
(803) 212-6923
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1811363419
 
Robert L. Brown, 2nd Vice Chairman (D-116)
(803) 734-3170
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=220454519
 
Lester P. Branham, Jr. (D-61)
(803) 734-3002
 
Norman D. “Doug” Brannon (R-38)
(803) 212-6876
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=184659069
 
Joseph S. Daning (R-92)
(803) 734-2951
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=451136310
 
Raye Felder (R-26)
(803) 212-6892
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=570454477
 
Jerry N. Govan, Jr. (D-95)
(803) 734-3012
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=702272643
 
John Richard C. King (D-49)
(803) 212-6873
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1002272607
 
Harold Mitchell, Jr. (D-31)
(803) 734-6638
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1344318021
 
Ralph W. Norman (R-48)
(803) 212-6888
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1421590739
 
Andrew S. “Andy” Patrick (R-123)
(803) 212-6928
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1438636191
 
Joshua A. Putnam (R-10)
(803) 212-6931
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1497727093
 
Samuel Rivers, Jr. (R-15)
(803) 212-6890
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1564488449
 
Tommy M. Stringer (R-18)
(803) 212-6881
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1774999787
 
Don L. Wells (R-81)
(803) 212-6884
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1902272499
 
Mark N. Willis (R-16)
(803) 212-6882
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1942613404
 
Donna H. Wood (R-37)
(803) 212-6878
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/email.php?T=M&C=1976136127

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