Bad Home School Testing Bill Filed

A bad home school testing bill has been filed at the Arkansas Legislature.

H.B. 1587 by Rep. Jim Wooten (R – Beebe) requires home schoolers to take a nationally recognized norm-referenced test every year in order to receive an form of public funds.

The way this bill is written, home schoolers in Arkansas would have to test if they receive any type of public assistance or any type of grant or scholarship paid for with state or federal funds.

The testing requirements in H.B. 1587 do not seem to be connected to the LEARNS Act that Gov. Sanders recently signed into law.

The LEARNS Act creates a voluntary school choice program in Arkansas, and it requires private school and home school students to take a norm-referenced test each year in order to participate in that voluntary school choice program.

Most home schoolers would not be eligible to apply to be part of the LEARNS Act’s school choice program until 2025.

H.B. 1587 would take effect this summer, and it would require home school families to take a state-mandated test in order to receive any type of public funds.

It seems highly unlikely that H.B. 1587 will pass at the Arkansas Legislature — especially with less than a month left in the 2023 session.

However, it is worth pointing out that the State of Arkansas used to require home schoolers to take a state-mandated test.

In 2009, Arkansas’ home schoolers performed better on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills than 61% – 80% of the students who took that test, nationwide.

According to the 2013-2014 Home School Report from the Arkansas Department of Education, in 2014 home schoolers in grades 3 – 9 scored anywhere from the 51st percentile to the 65th percentile on that same test.

In fact, home schoolers in Arkansas performed so well on standardized tests that the Arkansas Legislature finally ended state-mandated home school testing in 2015.

There is simply no reason to bring home school testing back.

You Can Read H.B. 1587 Here.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.

Arkansas Governor Signs Omnibus LEARNS Act Into Law

Above: Gov. Sanders signs the LEARNS Act into law during a bill signing ceremony at the Arkansas Capitol.

On Wednesday Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed S.B. 294, the LEARNS Act, into law.

The LEARNS Act is a good law that could provide students in Arkansas with unprecedented access to education.

As we have written before, the LEARNS Act will make it possible for students to receive a publicly-funded education at a public or private school or at home.

The LEARNS Act will empower families to make decisions about how they educate their children. That could give families real education choices that will help their children succeed.

The LEARNS Act also prohibits critical race theory in public schools, and it protects young elementary school children from inappropriate sexual material.

We are grateful to legislators for passing the LEARNS Act, and we applaud Gov. Sanders for signing it into law.

Senate Committee Passes Bill Expanding Interscholastic Opportunities for Home Schoolers

On Wednesday the Senate Education Committee passed a bill expanding interscholastic opportunities for home schoolers.

S.B. 361 by Sen. Matt McKee (R – Pearcy) and Rep. Cameron Cooper (R – Romance) amends Arkansas’ “Tim Tebow” law that lets home schoolers participate in athletics and other interscholastic activities at their local public schools. The “Tebow” law is named after former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was able to play football as a home schooler thanks to a similar law in Florida.

S.B. 361 makes it easier for home schoolers to participate in an activity in a neighboring school district if their local district doesn’t offer the activity.

It also clarifies requirements in the “Tebow” law about enrollment in public school classes and about the waiting period for students who withdraw from a public school to start home schooling.

As we said when lawmakers passed it in 2013, the “Tim Tebow” law is about school choice.

It empowers families by providing children with interscholastic options as well as educational options. That’s how it should be.

Last summer Family Council obtained government data showing at least 463 home schooled students utilized the “Tim Tebow” law in 2021.

The “Tim Tebow” law is a good law that Family Council has been pleased to support over the years.

You Can Read S.B. 361 Here.

Articles appearing on this website are written with the aid of Family Council’s researchers and writers.