Noem Levels Scholarship Playing Field for Homeschool Students, Signs Eleven Bills into Law

Noem Levels Scholarship Playing Field for Homeschool Students, Signs Eleven Bills into Law   

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem today signed a bill to make homeschool students eligible, on an equal basis, for the South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship.

“Empowering families means supporting each family’s decisions for education,” said Noem. “This legislation levels the playing field for all South Dakota students by removing an unnecessary scholarship barrier imposed on homeschool families. I am pleased to sign this bill into law today.”

HB1040 lowers the required ACT score for homeschool students to 24, the same score required for public and private school students applying for the Opportunity Scholarship. Currently, homeschool students must score a 28 to qualify for the scholarship.

The Opportunity Scholarship provides up to $6,500 over four years to qualifying students who attend colleges, universities, or tech schools in South Dakota.

Noem approved the following pieces of legislation this afternoon:

  • HB1007 – An act to revise certain provisions regarding the exemptions from the twelve-month residency requirement for university students
  • HB1011 – An act to revise certain provisions relating to the South Dakota Retirement System
  • HB1012 – An act to revise certain provisions regarding state laboratory services
  • HB1018 – An act to transfer the collection of various fees from the Department of Revenue to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • HB1023 – An act to revise certain provisions regarding the sale and purchase of big game animal parts
  • HB1033 – An act to revise provisions regarding transaction of business by trust companies
  • HB1038 – An act to authorize the demolition of a South Dakota State University building and to make an appropriation therefor
  • HB1040 – An act to establish certain provisions regarding the opportunity scholarship program
  • HB1048 – An act to authorize a public body to conduct certain deliberations in an executive or closed meeting
  • SB10 – An act to update references to certain federal motor carrier regulations
  • SB25 – An act to revise the authority of Department of Revenue special agents

14 Replies to “Noem Levels Scholarship Playing Field for Homeschool Students, Signs Eleven Bills into Law”

  1. Anonymous

    Home schoolers suck the funds out of a lot of small school districts. A lot of funding problems would end quickly if these large families brought their kids to school. Not to speak of the benefits for these children, socially and educationally. It’s too bad, and I know our party members are big advocates of it. I know many home school children do very well, but from the small town taxpayer opt-out vs laying-off teachers perspective, it hurts.

      1. anonymous

        I wouldn’t worry much about the home-schoolers not being vaccinated. I worry more about the millions of criminal immigrants entering the county and not vaccinated.

        1. Anonymous

          But that’s the point: when locals were vaccinated, the unvaccinated immigrants were not a huge threat to herd immunity because vaccination rate of native born americans was so high. Now, with the sea of misinformation flowing from the mouths of anti-vaxxers, herd immunity is threatened and those illegal immigrants are having an impact as disease vectors. This is not a zero sum game. Both are bad.

    1. Lincoln County Delegate

      I fail to see how home school students “suck” the money out of small school districts. They still pay property taxes to the school district (while not using their services) and sales tax. The only funding the school districts don’t receive is the per student allocation. Which is, of course, what the portion the State pays for students actually attending public schools.

      If anything the school districts are making out like bandits by collecting the property taxes of home school families without incurring the cost of educating their children.

      1. Springer

        Exactly what I was going to say, but you said it better.

        Additionally, home schooling is not free…cost of materials, cost of additional transportation to many classes that are offered by people in a particular area of expertise out of the home, loss of a second income… Evidently those who homeschool feel the extra costs far outweigh the disadvantages.

  2. William Beal

    I could not find any studies that showed a high percentage of home schooled students have not been vaccinated vs those in public schools. I did find articles that speculated that some parents home schooled because they believed vaccinations were unsafe, but neither provided any data to demonstrate such a link and one admitted there was no data available.

    The most recent information I’ve found on home schooling is from January of this year, that shows:
    The home-educated are doing well, typically above average, on measures of social, emotional, and psychological development. Research measures include peer interaction, self-concept, leadership skills, family cohesion, participation in community service, and self-esteem.

    Homeschool students are regularly engaged in social and educational activities outside their homes and with people other than their nuclear-family members. They are commonly involved in activities such as field trips, scouting, 4-H, political drives, church ministry, sports teams, and community volunteer work.

    Adults who were home educated are more politically tolerant than the public schooled in the limited research done so far.

    With the educational resources now available for home and remote learning, I expect the percentage of families choosing to home school to continue to grow.

    1. a friend of education

      Although Mr. Beal makes several good points, I’ll admit home-schooling isn’t optimal. Ideally, folks blessed with great teaching talent would educate all our children. Meanwhile, the rest of us would do other useful jobs, each practicing the vocation best suited to his/her abilities and interests. Home-schooling is inefficient. We haven’t time to become excellent doctors and lawyers and barbers and plumbers and mechanics. When I need an oncologist, I hire a pro. Similarly, not every parent can teach Latin, calculus, chemistry, and physics, plus explicate the plays of Shakespeare and describe the lost glories of Greece. But when schools become unsafe and when a school’s curriculum strays far from the truth, can you blame parents for taking direct remedial action? Granted: the better solution is fixing schools but, until that golden day dawns, I’ve no qualms with South Dakotans who prefer home schooling their children.

      1. William Beal

        My hope is, that as more options are available for education, that public schools (and universities, for that matter) will be forced to compete in the marketplace and address fundamental changes in how they’re currently structured and perform.

  3. William Beal

    This article in the Washington Post showed some interesting statistics about the demographics of the “Anti-Vaxxers.”

    “Anti-vaxxers skew toward younger and less-educated Americans, along with racial minorities. Contrary to some conventional wisdom.”

    “The poll also shows more Democrats (9 percent) and independents (10 percent) say the measles vaccine isn’t safe than Republicans who say the same (5 percent).”

    Here’s how many Americans are actually anti-vaxxers

  4. Anonymous

    Homeschooled children have stay-at-home Mothers (what working mother has time for it?) and successful Fathers who make enough money to support the whole family on a single income. They have financial security and two parents.

    It’s not surprising that home schooled kids are above average in everything.

    1. William Beal

      This is the latest demographic data I was able to find.

      “Analysis: The NHES 2003 found that homeschooled students were as likely as other students to be poor and more likely to be near-poor. After 2003, the NHES stopped reporting the percentage of students who were near-poor, so it is impossible to know whether this finding holds true today. The elevated rate of near-poverty among homeschooled students may have been the result of some homeschooling families’ giving up a second income.”

      “The best demographic data we have on the homeschooling population is collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) through its National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES), conducted every four years. The NHES began including questions about homeschooling in 1999. The NHES 2012 and 2016 used nationally representative address samples; the NHES 1999, 2003, and 2007 used random digit dial samples.

      All measurements are of students ages 5-17 or in grades K-12.
      For the purposes of this page, white means white, non-Hispanic.”


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